Joan Black, Kathleen Hodgdon, Rachael Sophrin Lorimer ’02 and Heather Ruggles

Local ladies make beautiful protective masks
June 5, 2020

Celebrating Joan Black (SJA staff), Kathleen Hodgdon (SJA staff/parent of alumni), Rachael Sophrin Lorimer ’02 and Heather Ruggles (spouse of SJA staff member/parent of alumni). Together they have made more than 500 masks to help keep our community safe!


Joan has been working hard with her daughter, Cyndie Mathews Payeur ’91 to make more than 200 hundred masks with matching caps for Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. Masks that are donated to NVRH are being provided to visitors to the hospital and their clinics and some are kept on hand in case medical grade masks ever become unavailable in our area. 


As of mid-April, Kathleen had already made 250 masks and the number has continued to grow since then. She has been donating to local agencies and the Vermont State Police. She has also provided masks to people through personal requests. 


Rachael is using her mask-making skills to fundraise for Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. Her mother, Laura Sophrin, is the Director of Intensive Care and Cardiopulmonary Services at NVRH, and supporting the hospital means a lot to her. She wanted NVRH to have flexibility in how they use her support. Her reasonably priced masks now help our community members be safe and also allow her to make a difference for our local hospital. To date she has raised over $200 and plans to continue this effort. 


Heather, wife of SJA staff member, Alan Ruggles ’84,  has been providing masks to  friends, family, and to SJA faculty and staff. We greatly appreciate her help in keeping our close-knit community safe! 


Thank you, Joan, Kathleen, Rachael and Heather for using your creative talents to outfit our community with masks!


We realize that many in our community are making masks and other personal protective equipment. Please contact Brynn at to share stories and to be added as a member of this group of SJA Shining Stars.




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