YOUNGSTOWN — When Donna and Milan Zordich of Youngstown decided to visit family in early March, they didn’t know they’d be helping others.
They arrived on March 5, intending to visit family in Del Ray, Fla., then Naples.
Then, COVID-19 happened.
“The thing of it was, when we were coming down here, we thought about it and were a little hesitant. Nothing was really etched in stone with how bad it was or how bad it was going to get at that time,” Donna said.
“Of course it’s beautiful and sunny here. We put on our masks and go for a walk,” she said, laughing.
With their 10-day vacation extended, Donna’s sister, Renee Halfhill, asked if she wouldn’t mind making some masks for employees of Blue Sky Therapy. Halfhill is president of the Canfield-based company.
Time goes fast for the couple, Donna said, as they make masks.
“That is another plus, besides helping people. They were helping us by making the time go faster,” she said.
The selfless attitude of the Zordiches isn’t a new trait.
Donna, 79, was a hairdresser then a seamstress. Milan, 80, is a retired firefighter.
“Blue Sky was passionate about providing appropriate masks to employees, but there wasn’t enough to go around,” Donna said.
Renee sent photos for Donna and Milan to use.
Milan cuts fabric into a square and as she sews, Donna pleats the material so it expands when the therapist is wearing the mask. It takes between five to 10 minutes to make one mask, Donna said.
By last week, they’d made more than 500 of them.
Donna explained that because Blue Sky sends material as items could be found, sometimes she has to improvise the masks, such as when she used ribbon instead of elastic.
Because they were on vacation, Donna said she didn’t have her sewing machine. Her niece, Jillian Halfhill, is Renee’s daughter with whom they were staying. So Jillian bought Donna a sewing machine and the couple got on with a new hobby.
“It’s a whole big loving family affair,” Donna said.
Also a family affair is everyone looking out for Donna and Milan.
Donna said their grandchildren all around the country have given them “so many rules,” including sharing guidelines on how to be best protected against the virus when they go for walks.
“We’ve really been obeying. We’ve been indoors, but we go outside for walks,” she said, adding that they took advantage of ordering groceries, with Milan pointing out one specific essential item: wine.
Luckily, the Zordiches said not many people are around where they are for their extended Florida stay.
If there is a need again in the fall, as some medical professionals are cautioning, the Zordiches said they would make more masks for the community.