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Members of the community helps assemble masks for the final masking project.

MANSFIELD — The Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force met July 30 to complete its final mask-making project.

The masking project was created to give masks to local business owners to be able to provide customers with protection before entering a store or restaurant. The project was organized and sponsored by the Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force and held at Mansfield University.

The community came together to help finalize the masking project and assembled the last 4,000 masks. Dr. Charles Patterson, president of Mansfield University, as well as county Commissioners Mark Hamilton and Erick Coolidge, were present to talk about the importance of the event.

After three events held at the University for a location to assemble the masks, Dr. Patterson said, “I think this is a real example of community engagement that the university cherishes. The ability to partner with our county commissioners and with our healthcare agencies around the region for the health and safety of our community and the health and safety of our students was paramount.”

Commissioner Hamilton said, “Wearing a mask shows respect for others. We can come together in a cooperative manner, work together and figure out the solutions. If you remain positive and get the message out there, we can change some minds.”

Commissioner Coolidge noted that he was able to compose a conversation with Governor Tom Wolf, who shared his appreciation for the task force and what it is doing to contain the coronavirus.

“He interrupted the conversation to say, thank you and congratulations on the effort that’s been put forward by the task force in Tioga County,” Coolidge said. “That’s saying quite a little bit to have to pause and acknowledge what’s going on here. But, what’s going on here is community, people who are volunteering and want to make a difference in the future and the welfare of our county.”

Jim Nobles, chair of the Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force, said, “This project was a wonderful community based project that pulled the entire community together to focus on a single need. At the end of this project, we will have packaged over 15,000 masks. There were 50 volunteers that contributed an excess of 600 man hours and these masks were distributed to hundreds of businesses all throughout Tioga County. They were available for the customers, for the staff and any visitors coming in from outside the county. We believe the positive reinforcement of the message is much better than the negative enforcement.”