Port Arthur 12-year-old sewing masks for healthcare workers

Published 12:16 am Friday, April 3, 2020

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Port Arthur resident Betsey McIntyre is sewing personal protective equipment masks for local healthcare workers at the Women’s Center of Beaumont.

Betsey is 12.

“Some people we know didn’t have any,” she said simply. “I know how to sew, so I thought I would make them.”

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Betsey started her project two days ago, constructing more than 20 masks.

“It’s a big deal,” she said. “People are running low and we thought we needed to help. Anything we can do to help is important.”

Betsey’s mother, Brittney Laurette Johnson, is a former employee of the Women’s Center and is funding the fabric and materials for the masks.

“We’ve got way more than we thought we would have,” she said. “I used to work at the Women’s Center and noticed they were running low, so we are starting there and after making a post on Facebook she’s had 50 or more orders.”

Betsey McIntyre, 12, sews masks for local healthcare workers Wednesday out of her home.

All masks will be donated.

“I’ve seen firsthand, not particularly this virus, but for the last 10 years in healthcare, any exposure is awful, especially if you are worrying about bringing it home to your family or elderly,” Johnson said. “So we decided to donate them because we have the means.

“If we can help anybody, we don’t mind doing it. With healthcare the way it is, they don’t need to worry about paying. If we are able to do that we are more than happy to help.”

Betsey has been sewing for several years creating pillows, headbands and scrunches for friends and family.

Hand sewed PPE masks by Betsey McIntyre.

“I just thought it looked fun,” she said. “My mom knows how to sew. I thought that sounded cool and wanted to do that.”

After watching a video on YouTube, Betsey wanted to learn and be part of making a difference; although it wouldn’t be the first time.

The sixth-grader at Nederland’s C.O. Wilson Middle School has always been philanthropic, raising money in the past for homeless and women & children shelters through bake sales.

Several years ago, she even brought Easter baskets to several sick children staying at Baptist Hospital and CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth’s.

Kimberly Berry, McIntyre’s social studies teacher, said this comes as no surprise.

Port Arthur native Betsey McIntyre cuts fabric for medical masks.

“Betsey is an awesome student and beyond helpful in my class,” she said. “She is always willing to share her supplies with students that don’t have their own and include others when doing group projects. She will put her own work aside to help others, even if that means having to work at home on her own assignments.”

Johnson said she loves how her daughter in helping in a time of need.

“I told someone yesterday if she can learn anything from me, it is to be kind and help someone in his or her time of need,” Johnson said. “That is the most important thing I can teach her, outside of loving Jesus, and I am just extremely proud of her.”