Visalia nurse who distributed handmade masks honored with 1 Million Watts

“I come from a family of first responders so it’s just in my life to help others”

Katie Overmonds
January 5, 2023
User Stories

Grabbing a surgical mask from the box in her hospital’s ER was second nature to nurse Melissa Moskowite from Visalia, CA. Until one day she reached in to discover there were none left – only a note that said “on back order.” 

“To be honest, the COVID numbers weren’t so bad near us at the beginning of the pandemic so I wasn’t all that worried,” she explained. “Only when I went into the equipment room did I realize that the situation was actually a lot worse than I thought.”

Realizing that her hospital and the surrounding communities may not be able to keep themselves and each other safe with the supply shortage, she got in contact with a neighbor who had started making cloth masks and quickly got to work distributing them. 

“We probably distributed at least 100 masks, making different sizes for different people who work in our ER,” she recalled. “I started to think about all the people in different countries who wouldn’t have what they need either with this supply shortage so we just kept going.” 

For her heroism, Melissa is being honored with 1 Million OhmConnect Watts as part of the Thanks a Million campaign. 

“I’ve never won anything in my life so I was really excited. I will probably be able to purchase all our Christmas presents this year with the winnings.” 

As the Omicron variant takes hold and we brace ourselves for another wave of COVID this holiday season, we’re even more thankful for everyday heroes like Melissa. 

“It’s overwhelming, it’s exhausting and it feels like it never ends,” she said. “But I have a deep passion for medicine. I come from a family of first responders, so it’s just in my life to help others.”

Thank you for your efforts, Melissa! 

Katie Overmonds

Katie is an award-winning journalist and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for the environment and fighting climate change.

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