Making a Difference: Margie Collier’s Masks

A few years back, Margie Collier lost her husband to cancer. But she never realized how her son’s job put him at higher risk for the disease.

Captain Ken Collier works for the Sugarcreek Township’s Fire Department in Greene County.

Right around the time the COVID Pandemic hit in March, 2020, Margie was stuck at home. This had her watching more television than normal.

It was on one of those TV shows about firefighters, where she learned about how fire crews are at higher risk of getting cancer if they do not have the proper, protective equipment.

Her mind immediately turned to thinking about Ken and his fellow firefighters.

“I thought, you know what, maybe I could do something to help our local guys.”

“She was very determined,” Ken said.

Margie started thinking about how to raise five thousand dollars to pay for 50 special hoods for each firefighter in Sugarcreek.

Firefighters wear the hoods under their helmets and oxygen masks.

“The hood has 98 percent effectiveness in keeping particles out,” Margie said. “Most firefighters absorb carcinogens around their face because that’s only open part of the body left.”

But when COVID hit, she put her fundraising plan on hold. To keep busy inside her Kettering living room, Margie got to work with her sewing machine.

She started making cloth masks and donated them to medical workers in the Dayton area. Word spread fast, and people started offering to pay her to make masks with unique, original material.

“I made some for someone in Florida. They asked how much do we owe you. I told them they didn’t owe me anything,” she said.

But then it clicked, and Margie said she had a “duh, moment,” which turned into her telling people that if they wanted, they could donate to help her firefighter hood project.

On social media she shared what she was doing. She showed a few masks she made from jeep material.

“The next morning, I woke up to 187 emails,” she said. They all wanted jeep masks.

At last count Margie said she had made easily more than two thousand masks.

Never did Margie imagine she and her sewing machine would have raised the five grand needed to buy all 50 hoods for the men and women firefighters in Sugarcreek Township.

Margie Collier is “Making a Difference,” and she is already got another idea brewing, stay tuned.