Curtis In the Community: The Mask Marvels

Katie Millford, accounting assistant at Curtis Engine, is working remotely from home during the COVID-19 quarantine in the busy company of her husband and two small children. 

Although she had her hands full, Katie was worried about the Curtis Engine service technicians who are in the field during the pandemic. While they are taking precautions to protect against transmitting or contracting the virus, the technicians are on the front lines in medical facilities and other mission-critical facilities. They were in need of protective face masks, which have been scarce.

Katie searched for groups that could make face masks, but these were all donating their masks to medical facilities. Katie is not one to give up easily, so she turned for help to her grandmother Marilyn Morgan, an experienced seamstress. Despite the challenges of social distancing, the quarantine and working from home with a family, Katie took a crash course in sewing from her grandmother. The goal was to sew 100 masks for the service techs at Curtis Engine.

But, as that well-known legal authority Murphy so famously put it, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Marilyn’s sewing machine broke after 70 masks and couldn’t be repaired. Enter Katie’s acquaintance, 16-year-old Hannah, who helped with the last 30 masks. Goal achieved – one hundred masks!

The happy ending of this story has a wonderful twist, or shall we say, stitch. Because the leadership of Curtis Engine was so grateful for Katie’s persistence in providing face masks to her co-workers in the field, they will provide a new sewing machine for Katie’s grandmother.

Says Paul Koch, Chief Operating Officer, “The culture at Curtis Engine attracts and retains people who have great talent and skills, but it also draws people who are heroes in so many ways – like Katie, our people in the field and the people who keep the company running so well. This is one of the attributes that has kept the company in business for 75 years and what makes us all proud to be a part of the Curtis Engine family.”

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