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As companies look for new ways to keep employees working during the COVID-19 threat, an Enfield business has begun making a product in short supply — masks.

AmeriCap has donated masks to the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Halifax County Public Health System, said Patrick Qualls, who owns the company with his brother, Carl.

The company has also filled orders for Rogue American in Austin, Texas, which plans to sell them and Red White Blue Apparel in Cleveland, whose owner will donate the masks to a local hospital, Patrick said.

“We’ve got 45 people working here,” he said. “We wanted to keep them busy. We were looking for an avenue to keep people working through this pandemic.”

Behind the relatively smooth transition from making caps to masks was Reggie Spivey, the company’s sewing machine mechanic and facility maintenance manager. “I saw we had the equipment and materials to be able to put it together. It wasn’t much of a transition. It was pretty easy to get efficient at it.”

The company has ordered an automatic presser foot for the pleats. “We saw there was a shortage of masks and we decided to start making them,” Spivey, who has been with the company for five years, said.

“We owe it all to Reggie,” Carl said. “He took the bull by the horns.”

Patrick said AmeriCap donated 180 masks to the sheriff’s office and 75 to the health department.

The company enlisted the help of health system Director Bruce Robistow to come up with a design. “He asked me to make them with four pleats and Reggie went back to make the pattern.”

The masks are washable, Patrick said. “They’re not N-95 masks but they are a barrier.”

For Sheriff Wes Tripp, the donation was “greatly appreciated,” he said. “My deputies are on the frontline of this pandemic just like our healthcare professionals. We understand the healthcare professionals need the masks first because they are our first line of defense and because they’re doing what they can to slow the spread and treat people with this virus.”

Of the company itself, the sheriff said, “When a businessman does this, it goes without saying how appreciative we are.”

What AmeriCap has done for the health department, Robistow said, is to provide them “enough masks for 100 percent of the health department. I can’t thank Patrick and his company enough for providing work for his employees and providing what we need for the public health of our county.”

Said Robistow: “It’s a great example of a local business realigning their production to meet the needs of the county all while keeping their employees gainfully employed.”

Patrick serves as a county commissioner and Robistow said, “Mr. Qualls always serves Halifax County as a commissioner and today he and his company have gone above and beyond expectations to meet the needs of our county in an entirely different way. He was good enough to make the first couple of masks so we could try them out. We gave him a recommendation on how to improve comfort and effectiveness.”

AmeriCap products come with a tag which either says “Made in USA” or directly mentions Enfield — sometimes both.

Patrick said he and Spivey are trying to figure out a way to denote the masks are American made.

It means much to Spivey to be involved in the project. “It makes me feel real proud to help in this and have the equipment to do it.”