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A Mother’s Work

October 2, 2020

During this pandemic, her job at 3M has never meant more. She makes N95 respirators. Her daughter works in a hospital. Because of COVID-19, they’re depending on each other.

A 3M plant employee in Aberdeen reviews N95s respirators that have come off the production line.

“We have a pair of tattoos. Mine says, ‘Together forever, never apart.’ Hers says, ‘Maybe in distance, but never in heart.’”

That sums up the close bond between Kristi, a 3M Aberdeen, South Dakota, plant machine operator, and her daughter Katelyn, a hospital radiology technician. The fact that mother works at a 3M plant making N95 respirators and daughter works in a hospital – in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic – makes Kristi’s work at Aberdeen more meaningful than ever.

“The respirators we produce help protect health care workers, so the more we can get out the door, the more people we can help.”

Kristi, 3M Aberdeen Plant Machine Operator

As her plant began ramping up production in early 2020 after the coronavirus outbreak in China, Kristi understood the urgency to get as many N95 respirators out the door as possible.

“The respirators we produce help protect health care workers, so the more we can get out the door, the more people we can help,” she said. “It’s my job, but I take even more pride in it now.”

Kristi’s story is featured as part of 3M’s ongoing Improving Lives campaign. The commercial shares 3M’s work to produce N95 respirators through the eyes of someone who makes them.

The plant where she works has been running 24/7 since early this year, which helps to increase 3M’s global respirator production by 400% by the end of this year. Kristi and her coworkers are just a few of the thousands of 3Mers around the world who have stepped up in response to COVID-19, marshalling our innovative spirit and manufacturing expertise to help make products that are so critical in the fight against this pandemic – and so important in helping keep our frontline workers safe.

Workers like Kristi’s daughter.

“She tries to comfort me, tells me that she’s fine, but you still worry,” Kristi said. “I just try to keep it positive and tell her to keep herself safe.”

During this pandemic, her job at 3M has never meant more.

Her coworkers asked her what it’s like to have a daughter on the front lines.

She’s proud.

“I called my daughter a hero once. She said she couldn’t do her job if I didn’t do mine,” Kristi said, “and I feel the same.”

During her shifts loading nose clips and shells into her machine to make respirators, Kristi said there’s time to think.

She thinks about keeping her equipment “happy and running.”

She thinks about when the pandemic will end.

And she thinks about her motivation – the healthcare workers and first responders using the respirators she helps make.

 “Just knowing we’re helping protect people out there,” she said, “and my daughter’s one of them.”

Learn more

See how 3M has been helping the world respond to COVID-19.

Watch more 3M Improving Lives films. 

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3M employee Chris DeColli and his daughter Erica, a nurse on the front line of the pandemic wearing 3M personal protective equipment.



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