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Fighting COVID-19 together

Pike jumped to 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, April 10, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Local citizens, along with those across the state, are asked to remain in their homes and practice social distancing until April 30. As usual, Pike County citizens are working together to battle the county’s – and world’s – newest obstacle, COVID-19. One local family decided to purchase some of the last available medical face masks and distribute them to local law enforcement officers and school employees. Houbin Fang said he and his wife Qi Zhou purchased 500 masks and his children even donated their allowance money to help as part of a home-based project to help others. He said his son, TongTong Liu, and daughter, Naja Zhou, were both excited to find a way to help others. The masks were donated to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and the Pike County school system. ’We are happy we can do something to help and we are trying to find other ways to help as well,’ he said. ‘We will get through all of this together and we all have to work together. What these officers are doing is very important for the whole community and they are still here working to keep our community safe. Our teachers are educating the next generation of leaders and they have a great deal of responsibility in the community.’ Superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan said the masks will be used by employees and volunteers who distribute meals to the families of local students. ’This is really wonderful and we appreciate this family showing their support in this way,’ said Dr. Duncan. Houbin said they were able to get the last boxes of masks from the supplier and he hopes the world will recover quickly from the new illness while showing support for each other. ’There have been a lot of arguments between countries, a lot of blaming and fighting and rumors but this was not caused by any person on purpose,’ he said. ‘There has never been a virus that lasts forever. The spring will come and the virus will fade away. We will be fine and God will continue to bless America and the world. Williamson’s city clerk Karen Brentlinger decided to sew masks for those in the medical field and others. When she ran out of elastic, she put out a request on social media and was soon back to making protective masks. ’I had made 50 masks when I ran out of elastic and Sabrina Sweet in Concord gave me four bags of fabric and some elastic,’ she said. ‘Other members of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will also be helping. We have plenty of fabric but are still short on 1/4’ elastic.’ She plans to deliver at least 50 to the hospital in Spalding County and has distributed some to first responders and others in Williamson. Other local citizens have joined the Sewing Masks in Pike and Spalding Counties and are working together to provide protection for nursing homes, doctor’s offices, churches who provide food to the public and more. Follow the page to find out more about how to help in Pike and surrounding areas. In memory of her son Michael ‘The Shack Attack’ Shackelford, Candy Boyd is organizing efforts to provide medical masks for members of the community as well as those who work at hospitals in Upson, Spalding and Fayette counties. ’Our health care workers especially need these to keep themselves and their families safe,’ she said. ‘There’s a very big demand for these right now.’ She is asking for donations of bed sheets as well as anyone willing to help cut out the patterns or sew. In addition to providing medical masks, she hopes to provide encouragement to those who have lost loved ones due to suicide. ’In November 2018, my son died by suicide. The name of his business was Anvil Made and he did tattoos and leather working. When he died I decided I wanted to be a light to everyone struggling with mental health issues and the death of loved ones by suicide. We up-cycle denim and print t-shirts with his art work and portion of the money goes to The Shack Attack and every penny of that goes to supporting families who have lost someone due to suicide,’ she said. ‘We need people to go through their closets and find nice sheets to wash and donate or to help cut out patterns. Beginning sewers can do step one of the project and master sewers can finish them up. Other can help by making copies of the directions and we are in need of a printer who can supply us with business cards about suicide prevention. The SHACK stands for Suicide Health Awareness Causes, Kure. ’Please help us help the community. We are all effected by the COVID-19 virus in someway. It’s a great time to come together as a community, to help and provide protection for others as they serve us every day in our healthcare facilities not just during a crisis situation. Creativity and keeping your mind busy with projects during this time of quarantine is also good for your mental health, whether it be suicide, anxiety or other issues,’ said Candy Boyd. ‘My hope is to help other families before, during and after suicides and to be a catalyst of hope for mental health. Just as Michael brought brightness to others while he was alive, we trust that his legacy will help those in need and bring awareness to suicide.’ To find out how to help, go to TheShackAttack.org or follow No Greater Love Mask Tribe on Facebook or The Shack Attack on Facebook.

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