GROTON, Conn. - The Navy Exchange (NEX) Uniform Shop at Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE) is usually focused on the sartorial requirements of Officers and Sailors, but to help slow the spread of illness during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tailoring team has become a facial covering factory for base personnel.
The Navy now requires the use of cloth facial coverings for all service members, government civilians and contractors, as well as family members while on DoD property, installations, and facilities when maintaining proper physical distancing is not possible.
“When the directions were released that all personnel must be ready to wear a facial covering, the NEX uniform team immediately shifted gears,” said David Lewis, general manager of the SUBASE NEX.
The Uniform Shop tailors all play a vital role in the production of the facial coverings.
“They are cutting, folding, pressing, and at the end of the day, all together, we have about 100 facial coverings,” said Simone Azeredo, a tailor at the SUBASE NEX Uniform Shop. “The team is amazing!”
Azeredo had been making facial coverings on her own at home for first responders and for donation to a local hospital, so leading the Uniform Shop team in a similar effort for base Sailors was immensely rewarding.
“I take a lot of pride in my work and I was very happy to know that I would still be here helping Sailors at my job,” said Azeredo. `
In making facial coverings, Azeredo noted the Uniform Shop had been using any material they could find around the store. SUBASE commands and activities are also doing their part to help, providing supplies ranging from new sheets and t-shirts to other materials.
“Improvising has really worked with getting out as many as possible,” said Azeredo.
For Lewis, the tremendous efforts of Azeredo and the tailoring team exemplify NEX’s core values.
“The NEX has always been committed to service and responding to ever-changing patron needs,” said Lewis. “We are so proud of the Uniform Shop and this opportunity to support the Navy New London Team.”
SUBASE commands and activities in need of facial coverings may order directly from Lewis, or the NEX Divisional Manager Laurie Kerp, via email at Laurie.Kerp@nexweb.org. Additionally, Lewis highlights that the NEX Uniform Shop is providing a virtual ordering service for anyone in a quarantine or Restriction of Movement (ROM) status, on base or in housing. Contact the Customer Service Manager Lisa Burns at Lisa.email@example.com.
SUBASE and its Sailors and civilian team members continue measures such as wearing facial coverings, increased hygiene protocols, and physical distancing when possible, to mitigate COVID-19 and help ensure the base and personnel are healthy and ready to support the essential mission, providing national security and defense when needed.
“Some SUBASE Good News” (SSGN) is an effort to provide uplifting stories about the personnel, programs, and initiatives that help make Naval Submarine Base New London, “The First and Finest.”