BRITT, Iowa - A North Iowa woman is being recognized by Governor Kim Reynolds as a prime example of Iowans' hard work during the pandemic.
A master seamstress, Blanche Chizek started making cloth masks initially for her family, using material she had in storage. But soon, word about her beautifully designed masks would spread around town.
"People started saying, 'well Blanche, can you make us 5 or 10 or whatever?' And I said yes."
The amount of masks she would make grew, giving them to churches and the local hospital, all at no cost. To cut down on ear irritation, Chizek used cotton and polyester t-shirts in place of the elastic to make them more comfortable to wear.
"I bought a lot of material, but I also have had people call and say, 'Blanche, I have some material.'"
This past Tuesday, Blanche's work would be recognized by the Governor during her Condition of the State address, and would be in attendance during the address at the Statehouse. Despite the recognition, she remains humble, even if she's become a local celebrity of sorts.
"Wednesday morning, I never got away that phone. People were congratulating me...I feel honored."