By Brenda Meadows
College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, has begun making masks to honor Mynette Ulrich, who passed away on March 15. She had been the fruitcake baker at C of O for 30 years.
She also loved to sew. The Ulrich family is honoring her by donating hundreds of bolts of fabric to the college to make masks to supply local firefighters, law enforcement and anywhere they are needed. The community at College of the Ozarks decided to help neighbors during the COVID-19 crisis by making cheerful face masks from the hundreds of bolts of Mynette’s donated fabric. Each mask will remind people of Mynette’s joy and love for others.
Mynette, remembered for her love of smiley faces and her willingness to share a smile with each person she met, was an avid quilter. She generously made and distributed more than 100 quilts and never charged anyone a dime for them or for her time making them.
“My mom has always been a giver and has always been willing to help people, never expecting anything in return,” said her daughter Dee Dee Ulrich. “I am so proud of my mom and all of her selfless accomplishments.”
The first 100 completed masks were delivered to the Taney County Ambulance District and area fire and police departments. Masks will also be delivered to Cox Medical Center, Branson and will be made available to the public.
“Mynette’s husband Ed had a sewing barn built for her containing more than 2,000 bolts and bundles of fabric,” said Dr. Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education. “Her family knew of no better way to remember Mynette than by making and giving away masks for the people of the Ozarks during this pandemic.”
Lori Vanderpool, R.N., clinic administrator at College of the Ozarks, helped launch the project.
“I knew Mynette well,” Vanderpool said. “I feel like we shared the same heart strings: the Lord, our family, and making quilts for others. She was a wonderful woman of God, and her love for him and others was contagious to all who knew her.”
Vanderpool, who has helped C of O administrators monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 from the beginning, has kept them informed them every step of the way in order to help safeguard the campus community.
“Wearing a mask while you are out in public places is one more step you can take to attempt to prevent becoming ill with COVID-19,” Vanderpool said. “Wearing a mask does not guarantee you will not get the virus, but it may help. Do your part to keep yourself, your family and your community safe. Commit to positivity. There is so much negativity in the world today. Stay positive and make a difference. This is a time when fear meets faith like no other. God is in control and we must trust him and do our part.”
C of O volunteers have been working from home to cut, iron and sew masks. The College is providing mask-making kits for the public to help in this project.
“I am overwhelmed with the response,” said Dee Dee Ulrich. “But more so, I can’t stop thinking about how happy my mom would be knowing that so many people are benefiting from her fabric.”
PICK UP A KIT: Mask-making kits are available for pick up in the gazebo in front of the Alumni Center, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily while supplies. Anyone is welcome to participate in this project and help sew masks. Each kit contains material and instructions to make five masks.
Completed Masks can be returned to the laundry hamper at the front of the Alumni Center in a plastic grocery sack, tied with a knot. They will be taken to the C of O laundry to be washed, pressed and sealed in individual sleeves to be given out to the public.
PICK UP A MASK: Completed masks will be available for pick-up at the Alumni Center on Tuesday, April 21, 8-10 a.m. People are welcome to pick up individual masks, free of charge. Take only what you need and save the rest for others.
For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman at (417) 690-2212.
(Valorie Coleman contributed content to this article)