Willie Nelson is giving back to his Texas community, auctioning off a pair of signed face masks to raise funds in order to produce more masks for those who need them. Houston, Texas, residents Tanya Boike and Monica Cabazos have been making and distributing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, and they decided to make a pair for Nelson and his wife, Annie. Boike told ABC 13 that she had met Nelson's granddaughter, Noelle Ward, a few years prior and connected with her to see whether she could get a pair of masks to the country singer and his wife.
"They said, 'you know what, we're really good, we're already taken care of, but we would like to donate them or auction them off. How about we sign them and auction them off?'" Ward said. "I just lost it. That's not what I had made them for," Boike said. "This is going to be so amazing for these first responders and these critical care workers. These guys are going to be able to have a mask and not have to spend a fortune on them."
"Well, that's him. That's who he is. That's him every day," Ward said of her grandfather. "He's just relaxed, he's just giving, he's just got a great smile, and he's just the best." The two masks went up for auction on Saturday and bidding time was set for four days. Both masks are available for bidding on the FrontLine-Angels auction website and currently have bids of over $2,000. So far, Boike and Cabazos have made and given out over 500 masks and the money raised from the auction will go toward making more masks.
Boike shared that she first got the idea to make masks while watching Nelson perform at Rodeo Houston on March 4, just before the annual event shut down for the year due to the coronavirus. "I told my husband, get me to the store so we can get the materials, the sewing machine," she said. Boike began making face masks and teamed up with Cabazos, a nurse who helped her find fabric and distribute the masks. "I remembered about us as a community during Harvey and the flooding we've had," Boike explained. "I said, everybody was helping each other."