The Viral Battlefield…     by    Rory Andes

The world is circling the drain on the edge of economic depression and health crisis. America has been ordered to stop the very things that make them American or else face the fallout. The backbone of our country, the American worker, spent the last six weeks losing 17 million of their jobs. News story after news story shows the finest medical professionals on the planet get beat to hell trying to stay ahead of a viral pandemic. Whether in the grocery stores, the hospitals, the factories, or your living rooms, the battlefields are where you stand. Prisons share in the fight and we too have our sector to defend.

For the last three weeks a small group of us who know how to sew have taken up the task of making face coverings for the prison population and beyond. Hour after hour of relentless production to secure the safety, both physical and mental, of our neighbors inside and out. Along the way, the weary have succumbed and protests have erupted inviting news crews. Faith has been rattled and I’ve watched my friends work themselves into mission focused zombies. An officer read me like a book two days ago after a grueling weekend and insisted I make sure I’m taking care of myself. Ruth and Marshall have spent at least fifty hours each in the last four days behind either a sewing machine or serger and we have produced masks in the thousands to ensure people’s safety.

Tonight I saw a broken blood vessel in Ruth’s eye. Hours of intense focus, stress, and pressure to produce, along with little sleep, does that. Her contribution on this viral battlefield, along with our small band of skilled warriors, have held the line so far. We aren’t nurses, we aren’t first responders, we aren’t grocers, truckers, or the loved ones you get to see after a day of uncertainty, but we are fighters in defense of a community. The victory on this battlefield is some distance away, but we’re taking the hill… one damned stitch at a time.

by Rory Andes

We recognize our abilities. You’ll recognize our contributions….

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