McCreary Modern steps up to sew medical masks

Staff Writer

For Rick Coffey, president and COO of McCreary Modern, it’s all about family and treating people right.

“We’re one big family here,” Coffey said.

That family typically consists of the company’s employees busily sewing or doing other jobs for the furniture industry.

After Monday at 5 p.m., that came to a halt due to the state’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.

However, all production hasn’t ceased at McCreary Modern.

Around 35 seamstresses have stepped up to volunteer outside of their normal duties.

Even though the workers are volunteering, they are being compensated by the company.

“They’re good to us,” Coffey said. “So we are good to them.”

The volunteers were recruited after Coffey learned that his company had materials that could be used to make medical masks. Now, McCreary Modern is making two different masks — one to cover N95 masks and a disposable pleated design.

Coffey’s company is giving away the masks to those in need for free.

McCreary Modern was approved to make the FFT2 masks after receiving a letter from FEMA.

“Even though we’re not a mask manufacturer, we have an exemption because of the crisis,” Coffey said.

“We absolutely need to do this.”

So far, McCreary Modern has produced several thousand masks — they have enough materials for 38,000.

The masks are being distributed to hospices, clinics, and other places throughout Catawba and Caldwell counties.

Kathy Farley is the plant manager at McCreary Modern’s Newton Plant #2 site. She’s hoping to recruit more regular employees to help out.

“Our employees are dedicated to working here,” she said. “Hearing ‘I want to help’ — that’s the best.”