Army veteran, daughter sew face masks for Austin community

Since leaving the Army in 2015, Bea Canales turns to her sewing machine anytime it feels like she’s hanging on by a thread. 

“With me being a disabled veteran with PTSD, sewing is my comfort zone,” Bea said. 

As coronavirus started spreading in the Austin area, her concern turned to those around her. 

“It’s just hard for me to imagine my neighbors. They can’t even go outside because they’re afraid they’re going to get sick, because they have diabetes and they’re 80 years old,” said Bea. 

The lessons she learned while serving her country came to mind.  “I always tell my kids, ‘Never leave a soldier behind. Never. Pick them up, help them. Let’s get this going,’” Bea said.  

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This time, it was her daughter Bella who took the lead. “During all this going on, I am like oh why not make a mask for everybody in the house,” said Bella Canales. 

With their family members covered, Bella and Bea stitched together an idea to help others. “I did all the cutting. She did a lot of the sewing and we just went off from there,” Bea said.  

They started making cloth face masks for nursing homes, health care workers and their neighbors. Now with Austin requiring face coverings in public, the orders are pouring in. 

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“This past couple of days they have been blowing up my phone. So I’m like, ‘holy smokes!’” Bea said. 

Bella and Bea are doing all the sewing free of charge. Any donations are used to buy more materials. Their only wish is that they had more time or hands to sew up the job. 

“If I could have an army of people to help me out, that would really help me out. That would be so awesome,” said Bea. 


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