Joe Alonso, the head stonemason at the Washington National Cathedral, had tended to the building for 35 years. He knew its nooks and crannies.
So when news spread of a shortage of N95 masks needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Alonso remembered something nobody else did: More than 7,000 masks — purchased in 2005 or 2006 amid worries about an avian flu outbreak — were stashed away in an unfinished burial vault in the cathedral’s crypt.
“Over the last month, you start hearing, ‘N95 masks, N95 masks,’” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, all those N95 masks in the burial vault.’”
The cathedral donated 5,000 masks on Wednesday to two Washington hospitals to help…