Immediate Past Chair, retired rocket scientist, and sewing master Virginia “Ginger” Barnes has been keeping busy during quarantine and helping friends far and near while making masks. Ginger, who became involved with Challenger Center in 2013 during her 34-year career with Boeing, has made more than 1,350 masks this year!

Virginia made over 1,350 masks

After getting a request for masks from her son for his workplace and seeing that local front line workers in Texas were in need, Ginger sat down at her sewing machine and went to work, making over 100 masks the first weekend! As word spread, she began making more masks for family and friends.

“I made a few masks using rocket-themed fabric and my friends loved them, so I kept at it. They eventually began to try to pay me for my masks, but I asked them to donate their money to Challenger Center instead. Making masks was fun for me, gave me a focus in quarantine, and I was just trying to do what I could to help those who needed them,” said Ginger.

A self-proclaimed “fabric-hoarder”, Ginger had plenty of fabric to work with, but finding elastic for the earpieces was a challenge. She now uses beading elastic, an extremely comfortable alternative.

“I had friends that kept saying, “Hey, I want a mask made by a rocket scientist!”, said Ginger. “I’ve collected all kinds of space-themed fabric, so I’ve made masks featuring stars, planets, constellations, you name it.”

In addition to sharing masks with donors, Ginger was kind enough to provide some of these space-themed masks for staff at headquarters. Check out donors and staff sporting their masks!

2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but efforts like these from Ginger remind us that we’re all in it together.