WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Area rotary clubs are trying to convince people to mask up around Wichita County.

“If I drive around the community and I see flags being displayed, well the first question is ‘why are those flags being displayed?'” Retired Midwestern State University Professor Dr. David Barbosa said.

Dr. Barbosa had an idea heading into the new year, instead of sitting around waiting for the pandemic to end, he wanted to do his part.

“I just thought, ‘it seems to me like there could be something done to encourage people to participate in doing that’ and make it kind of a patriotic act,” Dr. Barbosa said.

Which led to the Mask Up Project, teaming with area rotary clubs in the county to display U.S. flags from Feb. 27 until March 7 to encourage others to keep wearing masks.

“I’m hopeful that it will encourage people to say, ‘Well I want to be apart of that too,'” Barbosa said.

As people continue to get vaccinated, Jack Browne, flag organizer for the Rotary Club of Southwest Wichita Falls, said this is a simple way to help.

“Something our community that makes a difference, the hospital’s full,” Browne said. “And this mask will make a difference.”

Usually displayed for national holidays, area rotary club has nearly 6,000 flags in the county on stand-by.

Only existing subscribers will have flags placed due to the time required for new flag subscribers to be supported. New subscribers can request service as the Rotary clubs mail out subscription forms in the March/April timeframe.

“Rotary clubs are very key because that will provide a flag to be displayed in front of a home where somebody says ‘I want to do my part, and I’m going to put my mask on, I’m going to do what scientists have told us to do’,” Barbosa said.

Wanting to be apart of it not just for a week, but until the pandemic is a thing of the past.

“We want this to be the launching week, we want those flags displayed, but we want people to remember the purpose and we want them to say, I’m gonna do it until it becomes unnecessary to do it,” Barbosa said.

One simple goal, continue into the new year safely.

“The goal is, if we could just get a few more people to wear masks, it could make a huge difference,” Browne said.

To get involved in the Mask Up Project, click here to email flag organizer Jack Browne or here for the Southwest Wichita Falls Facebook page!

Rotary clubs aren’t adding new subscribers at this time; but are looking for businesses and organizations to support the messaging asking people to wear a mask.