Young woman makes masks for social worker who placed her with new family

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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Becky Powell’s family has always been interested in helping their community. She says she and her 6 children (5 of whom are adopted) have been involved in church programs, 4H and volunteer work for decades. But one of her daughters had a timely idea amid the coronavirus pandemic: make masks and give them to whoever needs them, including the people who helped her the most.

“When she handed them to me, she wanted to make them is what she told me, because ‘you were the one who helped me,” said Social Service Coordinator Laurea Ellis. “I actually was the worker who placed Heather.”

Heather Powell was adopted after being placed in Becky Powell’s care by Laurea Ellis, who works for the Department of Health and Human Resources in Wood County. Heather repaid social workers with homemade masks to keep them safe during the virus outbreak.

“We made over 50, 100 masks --- over 300 masks. I gave some of them to Laurea because she brought me to my mom and I wanted to give back to her for what she has done and changed my life,” said Heather Powell.

“And so that meant the world to me. You know what I mean? It’s just like a circle that’s come back around. Words really can’t express what it meant coming from her,” said Ellis.

Heather, her mom Becky and the rest of the family are going to continue making their decorative masks while their supplies last.

“We had fabric because I used to sew for people and we got some Pellon and some real heavy duty stuff to line the inside. They’re not as good as the I-95 [N-95] or whatever they’re called but it’ll help,” said Becky Powell. “ We just try to help the community wherever we can and this is something Heather can help us with. She’s very crafty. One of her abilities is crafting.”

And Heather is happy to keep up the good work.

“It feels great. I want to keep doing this as long as I can for her,” said Heather Powell.

Ellis has enjoyed keeping in touch with Heather and the family. She says it’s nice to see how Heather has grown up.

“She beat the odds, she’s thriving,” said Ellis. “A lot of kids in foster care, they struggle. And even kids who get adopted, there’s a fifty chance they go either way. She’s a kid- she’s not a kid- but she’s thriving.