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Jackson woman, 95, doing her part by making masks during pandemic to help Breathitt County residents

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Delma Morgan will celebrate her 96th birthday on July 5, but she considers her age just a number. She showed as much when during the COVID-19 pandemic struck the state nearly two months ago.

In an effort to protect her family members, Mrs. Morgan began making masks and did so with such success that her masks reached beyond the family tree.

“I’m just doing it for my family,” Mrs. Morgan said. “I just wanted to see if I could do it. If I can keep them from getting the virus, it would mean the world to me.”

Delma Morgan, 95, is busy making masks for family and others in her home in Breathitt County. (Photo provided)

Breathitt County has one of the lowest number of coronavirus cases in the state and this 95-year-old resident has helped make sure that number remains low. In addition to making masks for her family members, some of them were donated to the Jackson Police Department.

“She just got her sewing machine and just started working. She needed something to do to pass the time while she was in the house all of the time and so she started making masks,” said her son-in-law Mickey Gibson. “I know when I was working, if I needed anything hemmed or sewn, she was the one who would do it.”

Gibson played at Kentucky under Adolph Rupp for two seasons (1962-64) before later transferring to the University of North Carolina Asheville. Gibson is married to Delma’s daughter, Lavonne, and the couple have been married for 37 years. Gibson remains in awe of his mother-in-law’s energy level.

“It amazes me that she’s in as good of a condition that she is in for someone who is almost 96 years old,” Gibson said. “Part of it is good genes because she has a sister in Ohio that is 92 and is doing well. I think her baby brother is in his mid-80s and I think most of them have lived (a long time). She has good genes, but she is a hard worker. She just feels like she needs to be doing something and it’s her way of thinking she can contribute to a little something.”

Gibson said his mother-in-law was raised during the Great Depression era and “that’s what taught her to be a worker.” Gibson added that Delma is a “very thrifty person” and “not a wasteful person.”

“She has always been a workaholic and has worked hard all of her life,” Gibson said. “She always has to be doing something. I don’t understand how she does it, but she does. She is just a very unusual person. If you walked into her house, the first thing she would probably get you to do is eat.

“She is one of those people if she can do something for you, she will. She’s just a very nice person.”

Morgan, who attended First Baptist Church in Jackson, still resides by herself. Her sons, Ward and JB Morgan, live nearby. While making masks keep Delma busy these days, she doesn’t plan on slowing down when the virus subsides. Delma considers herself “one of those Perry County people” and doesn’t “give up” easily.

“I try to stay busy so I don’t think about myself,” she said. “If you think about someone else, you don’t think about your problems. I thank the Lord every day I can get out of the bed.”

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