Local partnership brings face shields to those on front lines of COVID-19 fight
Monday, April 06, 2020
MOUNT VERNON – A local partnership is helping bring some relief to those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic while also helping keep one nonprofit manufacturer afloat.
Chinook Enterprises, Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Rotary have come together to deliver hundreds of desperately-needed face shields to local hospitals, elderly care facilities and others across Skagit County.
“It blew me away to see how grateful people were to receive these,” said Amelia Cook, Skagit Rotary president-elect, after helping deliver the first round of face shields April 2. “They were so happy.”
The arrangement has an added benefit for Chinook Enterprises, a nonprofit manufacturer that helps employ those with disabilities, enabling it to pick up a modest revenue stream at a time when work is hard to come by, said Chinook Enterprises CEO Steve Reed.
“This is enabling us to keep people employed and continue our mission of helping disabled workers find jobs,” Reed said.
The face shields – made of vinyl sheeting, foam and elastic – are a crucial tool in the fight against COVID-19. They are used in medical facilities to protect the wearer against fluid-borne pathogens and potentially virus-laden droplets.
The idea to manufacture the face shields started weeks ago as Scott Holley, president of the Burlington-based Eddyline Kayaks, sought to adjust his manufacturing capabilities to meet the oncoming local, statewide and national need for personal protective equipment, or PPE.
“Many of our team members have family members who are on the front lines of this fight in our county, and we felt it was important to do what we could to help them,” Holley said.
Holley worked with his team to prototype face shields and asked Skagit Rotary to fund the materials and labor for the initial production run of 2,000. Through additional generous donations from local businesses – including Chmelik Sitkin & Davis and VSH CPA – the project was funded.
Following the initial production of 900 face shields, Skagit Rotary and Eddyline Kayaks looped in Chinook Enterprises to participate in the assembly of the remaining 1,100.
With all the pieces in place, former Skagit Regional Health CEO and current Skagit Rotarian Gregg Davidson through his connections with Skagit County EMS helped identify and coordinate the need for face shields throughout the county.
The first batch of face shields were delivered April 2 to three hospitals, eight senior care facilities, and one pediatric care facility. A second batch was delivered April 6.
Going forward, Chinook Enterprises and Eddyline Kayaks will continue working together to produce PPE and to partner with other manufacturers throughout the crisis.
Currently they are looking for 20-gauge rolled clear vinyl to make the masks and are reaching out to the maritime industry to see if businesses are willing to donate or sell at reduced cost. Those interested in helping can contact Chinook Enterprises at 360-428-0140.
For its part, Skagit Rotary is extending an opportunity to other Rotary clubs across the state to purchase the face shields from Chinook Enterprises to be donated.
“This is a win-win-win for our community,” said Cook. “Chinook Enterprises will be able to keep their employees working during this economic crisis, Rotary clubs can have a hand in mitigating the global health crisis, desperate health care facilities can have access to critical PPE, and Skagit Rotary will continue to do what we do best: put ‘Service Above Self’ by helping vulnerable populations in our community.”
Rotary clubs interested in purchasing face shields can visit chinookenterprises.org or call 360-428-0140.