‘All the helping made her proud’

  • Mieko Nagao sits at last week her sewing desk, where she makes all her masks with her sewing machine from the 1960s. Inset: two of the masks created by Mieko Nagao. (Photos by Kelsey Walling/Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

  • Mieko Nagao sits in her home while speaking about making masks during the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

  • Mieko Nagao, left, and her daughter, Arlene, look through masks last week that they’ve made together at Nagao’s home. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

  • Two of the masks created by Mieko Nagao. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

When the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, Mieko Nagao, 96, helped her neighbors and community by sewing masks out of material she found throughout her home.