By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 14, 2020) A local physical therapy business has been providing masks for essential workers through the northern Worcester County communities since mid-April.
William “Billy” Hamilton, who owns Hamilton Physical Therapy in Ocean Pines, and his mother, Carol, have been providing hundreds of homemade masks for protection against spreading covid-19 through Ocean Pines and Berlin.
“My mom … she’s always had an interest in sewing,” Hamilton said. “She’s been sewing my whole life. So, when this whole thing started some of her friends that worked at hospitals in the D.C. area (the Washington Hospital Center), they asked for masks. She started making masks for them with whatever material they needed to be made out of.”
Most of the masks people are required to wear when going out in public will not prevent the wearer from getting the virus, but they can help stop the spread of the virus, which is why the governor has required masks when going out in public.
Carol began creating masks for her friends and her son and daughter-in-law, Jen, but eventually she began making masks for her son’s older clients. Carol and her husband moved to Ocean Pines two years ago and she wanted to help make a difference in her community.
“When all of this happened, I was already in some sewing groups on Facebook and everybody was talking about making these masks,” she said. “I’d always wanted to somehow give back to the community, but I didn’t know how. I got on YouTube and looked at all the different ones they were doing and I thought, ‘I can do that.’ So, I pulled out all my scraps and I started making them too.”
Carol has even begun receiving donated materials who are a part of her Facebook groups, sending fabric and even elastic, which makes creating the masks much easier, she said.
Hamilton has been taking the masks made by his mother and delivering them to essential workers throughout Berlin and Ocean Pines, especially for town employees and nursing homes like Gull Creek Senior Center and The Woodlands in Ocean Pines as well the Berlin Police Department.
“The masks are going to help you stop spreading it to anybody else,” Hamilton said. “It’s necessary, especially for these Woodland and Gull Creek employees so that they don’t spread what they may have gotten when they’ve gone out, gone home and come back to work … it’s necessary they don’t spread to the residents because those residents are at high risk.”
According to Hamilton, his mother has made well over 400 masks since she started three or four weeks ago.
“She was just making masks for friends and for our company,” he said. “And then she started reaching out to other people that were letting her know that they needed some, so she just started making more. Now it’s kind of snowballed where she was making a few a day and now she’s making masks nonstop all day.”
In fact, Carol has been working so diligently on the project that she has acquired a treadle machine and an additional five sewing machines to keep up the work. She has begun teaching her granddaughter how to sew so that she would be able to make masks for her friends.
In Berlin, Hamilton has delivered 40 masks to Town of Berlin employees and 11 to the Berlin Police Department.
Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen was appreciative of the generosity of Hamilton and Carol.
“Our Town employees, particularly our sanitation and utility personnel, were very grateful for the donation,” she said.
Police Chief Arnold Downing was also pleased with the donation, especially since his department has been in constant need of supplies for themselves and their Adopt a Senior Program since the pandemic began affecting Worcester County. Some of the masks they received even went directly to that program.
“Roughly eight subjects are on that [Adopt a Senior Program] list,” Downing said. “We go to the assisted living community, and we find out what the individuals living there might need. Quite a few of them don’t have vehicles and others are afraid to go out.”
Downing and his crew collected more supplies on Wednesday to provide for the seniors in the program, and was grateful for the supplies provided by Hamilton and other members of the community.
“We wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing without the support and help from the community,” he said. “There’s been a whole lot of businesses and individual members assisting us realizing how difficult this actual situation has been. So, again, we’re just truly blessed to have a supportive community.”
Overall, Hamilton and Carol are just happy to be able to help their community in any way they can.
“I don’t want anything for this,” Carol said. “‘I’m seeing people selling them on the Facebook groups and I just don’t think that’s appropriate. Everybody I know personally is really thrilled to get these masks. I hope everybody’s able to use them.”
For more information or to ask Hamilton about receiving a mask, contact Hamilton at Billy@hamiltonptcares.com.