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RSIR Broker Mary Nelson Proves That Good Deeds—and Goodwill—Are All Around Us

By Lauren Haslett |

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, but our community is still strong, still coming together, and still supporting one another.

We often highlight our agents’ many real estate-related accomplishments here at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, but we don’t always share much about their personal lives, goals, and endeavors outside the housing world. But today, we’re changing that.

Real estate agent Mary Nelson is a founding member of our Bellevue branch and has worked as a part of the RSIR team for years, providing the kind of high-level concierge service and local expertise that keeps her clients coming back to her again and again.

But Mary is much more than a talented broker. Her dedication to her community extends beyond her work in real estate and—especially during this difficult and confusing time we all now find ourselves in while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic—Mary wanted to do more to serve her clients, neighbors, and friends.

So she started sewing masks. Lots and lots of masks.

Quilt made by Mary Nelson.
One of Mary Nelson’s spectacular quilts.

Mary has long been an avid quilter. She has her own quilting studio at her home on the Eastside, and jokingly stated that she “could open a fabric store … seriously!” with the amount of quilting cotton she has on hand for her creative projects.

And seeing a new and urgent need for fabric face masks in her community, Mary put her skills and her supplies to good use quickly.

Dean and Stacy Jones wearing two homemade masks.
Owners of RSIR, CEO Dean Jones and Chief People Officer Stacy Jones, sport two of Mary’s homemade masks.

To date, Mary has sewn several dozen masks for clients, friends, and family—and really anyone else who asks for one. As these are made of cotton, they’re not medical-grade masks—but Mary can create about four or five in just one hour, and they are washable and reusable—exactly the kind of face coverings that the CDC recommends civilians wear to protect themselves when out in public, so that more specialized supplies like surgical and N95 masks can be reserved for medical professionals and other first responders.

Mary’s daughter is a nurse, and so has been thrust into the frontlines of this health crisis. Though she is required to wear medical-grade protective equipment on the job, her daughter loves to wear her mother’s colorful designs over her medical masks—to add an extra layer of protection, and a bit of fun, in her very challenging work environment.

While Mary isn’t producing mass quantities or selling her masks on the side (she is still working hard for her real estate clients!) she has discussed her mask-making project with many of her friends and loved ones, and it seems she has inspired others to start sewing face coverings for those in their communities, too. Her sister is also a capable quilter, and has pitched in to help Mary find individuals in their area still in need of face masks as well as to consult on fresh, new patterns, and her BFF of 40+ years is sewing face coverings for her friends and loved ones as well.

While it can sometimes be hard to see how our small, everyday actions make an impact on our community and our whole city, a positive act can encourage others to take action, too. We’re all in this together, and if we all do our part—just like Mary is doing—to help those around us stay well and make it safely through this crisis, we’ll all see the other side of it a little sooner.