Hometown Hero | Riley Higginbotham

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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Cloth, filters, a sewing machine, and elastic are what 11-year-old Riley Higginbotham of Leon, West Virginia, uses to make masks.

"My daddy, my Pawpaw and my Uncle Kevin, they are essential workers, and I kept thinking I wanted to keep them safe," said Riley Higginbotham.

It did not stop there. Riley Higginbotham wanted to help more than just family. Of the 1,800 masks she has made during the last few months, she has given many away to people in her community.

She has even sent masks to people she has received messages from in 18 states, sewing a bond between Higginbotham and her mailman.

Rochelle Stewart's husband works with Higginbotham's dad, and she found out Riley made masks for her dad and Stewart's husband.

"She not only wanted to keep her daddy safe but his friends at work, and that just blessed my heart. Not only was she worried about her family she was worried about mine, as well," Stewart said.

When Stewart found out Riley Higginbotham made masks, she said she was proud to know her.

"For her to help one person, it could possibly save one person's life, you know, by wearing a mask," Stewart said.

Higginbotham said she sometimes had four sewing machines going. She would take requests and even pick out what colors she thought they would like spending the time singing gospel music.

Whether she is lifting spirits with her voice or keeping the community safe with her masks, Higginbotham has received a pile of Thank You letters for her work.

For Riley Higginbotham's efforts helping people stay safe during COVID-19, she receives this week's Hometown Hero.