Employee Spotlight: Kathy Barri Sewing Masks for Charity

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June 18, 2020

Kathy Barri’s spare time lately has been consumed with sewing face coverings for co-workers, friends, family, and Elite’s customers. To those who know Kathy, it is no surprise that she would spring into action to help others in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elite has continued operation over the last several months and her original mission was to provide masks to protect Elite’s employees and customers. But that has grown into a larger mission to apply her skills to support the Colon Cancer Coalition in memory of dear friend and colleague, Dan Crowder. A part of the Elite family for 31 years, Dan Crowder passed away in April after battling colon cancer.

Kathy grew up watching her mother sew clothing for her and her sisters and learned the skill on a treadle machine. She started making her own clothing in her teenage years and worked at an alterations shop. There she learned to work with leather and fur jackets before continuing on to work at a furrier and a bridal shop.

Kathy has been our receptionist and administrative assistant for over 25 years.  However, she still connects to her passion for creating beautiful clothing and sewing through her home seamstress business.  She regularly tailors beautiful wedding dresses, prom dresses, as well as the occasional pair of pants for Elite’s grateful employees.

With some help from Elaine Russo and Margie Klouda of our Human Resources team and the 3D printing skills of EMC Engineer Marty Kalnins, Kathy’s sewing surge has resulted in over 300 masks – and she plans to keep going until she runs out of material. “I’m just glad I can use my talent to help everyone out in this pandemic – the support from everyone has been wonderful! To be able to help the Colon Cancer Coalition at the same time is awesome.”

Masks are available for pick-up at Elite for $10 each and all proceeds will be donated to the Colon Cancer Coalition – more than $800 has been raised so far.

Way to go Kathy, we appreciate all you do for our community and for Elite!