On April 7, the Mesa West Board Members received the following message from Robert LaBarge:
:First off, I hope that you are all doing okay and staying healthy! I am doing well despite being a little cooped up and missing my students. As you may know, the COVID-19 situation on the Navajo Nation is grim. Navajo county itself currently has the 12th highest per capita rate of the coronavirus in the nation. President Nez has issued advisories that all tribal members and nation residents limit travel and wear face masks in public.
There are many crafty and otherwise bored teachers up here who have begun to hand-make cloth face masks for free distribution (both to tribal members and to the front-line workers at the Pinon Health Center). Unfortunately, we are running out of supplies. I am asking the board if they would be so generous as to approve a stipend for supplies. I think $500 would go a long way in helping us to reach every member of our larger community (Pinon Chapter). We already have an excellent distribution network in place for food and homework, as well as connections to the health center, so I can personally assure that every mask made will be put to good use.
I've been in touch with Melodie, Pam, and my dad, who have agreed to help pick-up and ship the necessary materials. Melodie is already in possession of the list of what we need. But we are going to need our materials very quickly, as the Navajo Nation has issued a full lockdown starting Friday night. If we Melodie and Pam can get what we need by tomorrow, my dad can have it shipped so it arrives here Thursday, and I can have it distributed to the mask-makers that evening. Please consider helping us out. Thanks for everything you and Rotary does, and as always, I'm proud to be a member of Mesa West.
Take care,
Robert LaBarge
With an e-mail vote of the Mesa West board, the project was recommended to be approved by the Mesa West Rotary Foundation.  After being thanked for presenting this opportunity to serve a COVID-19-related need, Robert declined to take credit.  Robert said he overheard some women talking about the project and offered to try to get help from Mesa West.  He said that  LeAndra Begay (shown in the photo) deserves the credit for making the project idea become a reality.