Debra Keck Creates Facemasks For Civilians and Medical Professionals
By Ian Robinson
Debra Keck, an administrative assistant at Flat Rock Assembly Plant (FRAP), was like all Ford workers, staying home while the company shut its facilities down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was safe at home but worried for her daughter Meganne’s safety.
Meganne Keck is a registered nurse at Beaumont Dearborn’s Intensive Care Unit, a hospital that was running low on protective face masks. The day decided to halt production, Keck went home and grabbed some fabric that she had laying around, sat behind her sewing machine and started making masks. To date she’s made around 300 masks, 50 scrub caps, and fifteen headbands. The scrub caps and headbands are for medical personnel, but she’s been handing masks out to anyone who needs them free of charge. “I’ve made and given masks to healthcare workers, family members, neighbors, literally anyone who has asked. I’ve offered and given some to clerks at the grocery store” she said.
But most of the masks Keck created have gone to Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn where Meganne works. But Keck’s daughter and her team needed more than masks. After receiving masks from her mother, Keck’s daughter sent her a how-to video so that she could create scrub caps, a crucial piece of personal protection equipment (PPE) her team was running low on, and she did. Debra created one for her daughter with buttons so that the elastic from protective masks can be placed around the buttons instead of the ears, keeping them from getting sore.
She wore it to work, and her colleagues started asking for Keck to make some for them. Now almost half of her daughter’s team have scrub caps or headbands of their own.
As word began to spread that Keck was making masks, her friends started to ask her to make masks for their young children. She’s even created masks for a one-month old infant. When Kim Dyer a friend and coworker asked her to create a mask for the child of a family friend who has a medical condition requiring that she go to the hospital and get testing, Keck was more than happy to do it.
Creating a mask takes Keck about 30 minutes, and scrub caps take her even longer because she must do more ironing to create them. At the time of the interview she ran out of the materials needed to make masks and caps. But once she gets more material, she’ll be more than ready to fire up her sewing machine.
Keck has been with Ford Motor Company for 23 years, begining her career at FRAP in January of 1997 as a production worker before transferring to an administrative role in the Final Dept.