94-year-old Mae Krier is sewing the red, polka-dot masks from her home.

Mackenzie Dunn
July 23, 2020 10:18 am

Mae Krier might be 94, but that’s not stopping her from serving her country. As one of the original “Rosie The Riveters” during World War II, Krier worked in a Boeing airplane factory. She was one of the millions of women known as “Rosies” who stepped up to take the place of men in the workforce during that time. But now, she’s helping to fight our new war against coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Krier is taking the energy and passion she had for helping others almost 75 years ago and channeling it into new efforts, using her sewing skills to fashion free face masks. The masks are made in the same iconic red-and-white polka dot print as the original "Rosie the Riveter" bandanas seen in the recognizable poster ads from all those years ago. 

"I always made (them) for Rosie travel," she told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "We go to Washington and places and whenever we do, they love the bandanas. And I was making a lot of them when the virus started, and I just switched over from bandanas to face masks."

As for where she’s getting all her materials, Krier said she was “stunned” by the outpouring of support she’s seen from all over the country. From fabric and thread to elastic arriving at her doorstep, she told CNN, “It just seemed like everyone wanted to help me. American people are wonderful, When you need something from them, they’re there for you.” 

With over 300 masks made, Krier shows no signs of stopping, either. What began as her own small passion project for just her family and friends has transformed into requests for a thousand from around the country. But Krier isn’t worried about getting it all done.

“A lot of friends have offered to help me. We'll get there. We can do it," Krier said, quoting the poster. 

From Krier’s point of view, as someone who went through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II, now’s the time for Americans to band together. 

"I don't understand why people can't band together now," she said. For her, carrying heavy metal and working in a factory was hard, but she pointed out that people (women in particular) persevered, doing what needed to be done not just for months, but years during that time. 

"Wearing a mask seems simple to me after going through all that," she said.