OGDENSBURG — State Senator Patricia Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, has recognized the efforts of an 89 year-old U.S. Navy veteran for making more than 100 masks for frontline workers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edward “Ned” Hackett Hackett received the New York State Senate’s Commendation Award. The New York State Senate Commendation Award recognizes exceptional people who have made a lasting contribution to their community. Award recipients devote their personal time, energy, creativity and expertise to others. They also are leaders in their community who enrich the social, health and educational well-being of their fellow citizens.
“Looking back, there are so many inspiring stories of people who did what they could to help out during the pandemic,” said Ritchie in a prepared statement. “In the case of Ned Hackett, he took the time to teach himself to make masks for our frontline workers. His generosity and willingness to step up and help his community during this challenging time is truly admirable and it’s my honor to present him with the Senate’s Commendation Award.”
Hackett was inspired to make the masks when his daughter, who works at the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, informed him the hospital had gotten supplies to make masks.
“At the time my daughter worked at the hospital and she told me they had gotten the stuff to do it so I thought, gee I’ll give you the help,” said Hackett. “So she got the supplies from the hospital and brought them to my house.”
Hackett had previous sewing experience from serving in the U.S. Navy as a parachute rigger.
“Part of being a rigger was you had to learn how to sew and repair parachutes so I’ve been sewing all my life,” said Hackett. “The Claxton-Hepburn Hospital gave me the material and the instructions on how to make them, so I did.”
After 40 hours of sewing, Hackett made more than 100 masks for frontline workers, including masks for workers at the CHMC where he formerly served as a board member for nearly 20 years.
“It was in the middle of the pandemic and I didn’t have anything else to do,” said Hackett. “I sewed by the hour because I enjoy doing it. We have a Singer Sewing Machine that’s gotta be over 50 years old but it hasn’t been used a heck of a lot. After I made those masks, the machine has never been running better than it is now.”
Hackett said he appreciated receiving the award from Ritchie.
“It’s very nice what she did,” said Hackett. “She gave me a commendation and a flag that flew over the New York State Capitol. I’m a little bit humbled, but impressed.”