April 24, 2020

A New Family of Super Heroes


Move over Mr. Incredible; there is a new family of ‘supers’ out there lending a helping hand. Meet Kristina Norris, team lead extraordinaire of Thermo King Hastings’ Welding Department, and her amazing children: Sydni Johnson, super seamstress, and Jordan Norris, Guinea pig brother and scissor wizard.

“It started out as a joke for my little brother,” said Sydni, who first learned to sew in Middle School Home Economics class. “I found a face mask template online and thought I’d make one for him to wear at home – it was a little project to pass my time one day and I thought he’d look funny.”

With quarantine days dragging, Sydni made several masks out of old T-shirts and Kristina wore one to work. Suddenly, the requests started coming in from co-workers.

“We sold 24 masks right away, and it blew up from there,” said Kristina. “People started asking for specific materials and designs like the Minions, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Cub baseball and more.”



So the trio of supers got to work, making a trip to the nearest open fabric store 20 miles away. They picked up the supplies needed to fill the demand and make the masks with more comfortable, fun and fashion-forward materials. With Jordan and Kristina supporting as master ‘cutters,’ Sydni uses her mad 15-year-old sewing skills to fill the orders. First priority goes to Thermo King Hastings employees but they have mailed the masks to family members across the country and have also been selling to community members. The town of Hastings has more than 100 positive COVID-19 cases to date.

Giving back

At $7 a pop, the money being raised is paying for supplies and will also become a donation to the Trane Technologies Helping Hand fund.

“I know we have folks right here in Hastings who are in need of the fund so we want to contribute as well,” said Kristina. “And it sure is a great way to teach the kids about giving back to a greater cause. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”



And the supers just keep coming out of Hastings! Meet Rylea Bunner, an operator in the Paint Department who is making customized “TK Strong” tie extensions to improve ear comfort of face mask wearers at Thermo King Hastings.

“Some of us have been wearing face masks for a while now and I noticed my ears were getting sore from the elastic ties. I started looking around and noticed many other red ears around me,” said Rylea, who remembered seeing a homemade tie design online. “I looked it up and created some ties using plastic school folders and my personal DYI cutting machine.”

Apparently, Rylea’s design is working great as the first 20 extensions she brought into the plant went quickly. So she brought 30 more the next day and they were gone by 9 a.m.!

“I can make approximately 7 tie extensions per 10 minutes of time so I will carve out some more time in the evenings and on the weekend to make sure everyone who wants one gets one.”