Little does he know he is my hero. 19 months ago we were hit with the worst pandemic in my life time. We were all a bit confused and not sure exactly what to do. I washed my hands constantly, kept as far away from people as possible and Clorox wipes became my best friend. A few weeks in, I saw people in other countries on lock down and wearing masks. I went into mask mode very early on. I am, by no means, patting myself on the back, but I have never caught Covid-19. Anyway, enough about me, because this blog is about Mark. Early on, in the spring of 2020, I saw a lot of buzz on Facebook about Mark Hughes, owner of Regalia clothing store, giving away masks to nursing home residents. Soon after, he was putting masks outside his business asking people to pick them up and use them for free. I would bet half of Eureka Springs was running around wearing very cool handmade masks they picked up on White Street in front of Regalia. Mark reached out to our community and brought many into the compassion-giving business with him. It became a loving, saving lives community love fest; an army of caring people. Eureka Springs has always been a place of goodness and healing, so what better time to hone up on kindness skills following his leadership.
A crew of 25 people produced 3,500 face-masks to give away to the public free of charge from March 15th to May 1st of 2020. Since that time, Mark has sewn and sold over 9,000 masks, as well as giving many away and donating some to various organizations.
To this day, Mark has advocated for community safety and unity. We are a small town that thrives on tourists. I am sure he has probably lost some financial gain by proudly displaying his commitment to making masks, with large signs right in front of his business. But I doubt if that bothers Mark. He is too busy being a compassionate, good citizen. I am always looking for love in action. When I thanked him for his community service he just said, “If you think that’s something, wait till you get the count on how many monarch butterflies we release by the end of the year”!
So if you find yourself in Eureka Springs Arkansas, head down White Street to Regalia Handmade Clothing Studio and give Mark a well deserved "thank you" and purchase a piece of his amazing handmade clothing, and a mask or two.
Oh, and if you happen to see a monarch butterfly while you are visiting Eureka Springs, you might want to thank Mark for that too.
Peggy Perry-Hill has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. She spent many years as a public school teacher. Her goal was always to be a full time writer. She has spent the last 25 years traveling the globe with her husband John Two-Hawks, presenting concerts workshops and retreats. Her mantra has been 'making music and making friends'. Peggy has also written several books with her latest being 'Give Peas a Chance' a nostalgic 60s cookbook which she wrote to hold onto some levity in her life during the pandemic. She has facilitated Women of Wisdom (WOW) retreats for over 15 years. Peggy is the owner of Circle Studios Records and CSR Media Publishing Company. Her passion is compassion and she has stood for decades by another mantra, Love is a Verb, so her main goal in writing is to inspire her readers into action. Peggy Perry-Hill is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves writing, music, theater and culinary arts.