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Widow turns late husband's uniforms into masks

Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 17:42:20-04

LYDONVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s been more than 2 years since Elizabeth Carpenter of Lyndonville lost her husband Bill.

“We had just celebrated our twelfth anniversary the weekend before he was killed,” Carpenter said.

Bill passed away in August of 2017 after hitting a deer while driving his motorcycle to work. Bill, was a correctional officer at the Albion Correctional Facility for almost 10 years.

“I didn’t know what grief was until I went through that and I hung on to his shirts, at least 8 of them," she said. "I couldn’t part with them I don’t know why.”

For Carpenter, Bill’s uniforms brought a sense of comfort, but after hearing that correctional officers in his former facility didn’t have masks, she thought they could serve a better purpose.

Since Wednesday, Elizabeth Carpenter has been transforming Bill’s uniforms into masks.

“He would be happy and he’d give me a big hug and tell me he loved me like he did the night before he died,”

On Friday, she delivered her first batch of masks. And while it was hard for her, she says it was like dropping off a part of Bill to his friends.

“The corrections officers have been great to me since Bill died," she said. "And I thought I could pay them back.”

So far Carpenter has sewn 70 masks from Bill's uniforms and each one comes with a wallet-sized photo of Bill.

“My fingers are a little callused but this will past,” she said.

Carpenter says she has three more shirts to transform into masks and she won’t stop until all the material is gone.