JET donates 10,000 masks to Memorial Hospital

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Jasper Engines and Transmissions safety employee Jessica Meyer sets down a box of face masks in front of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center staff at the hospital in Jasper on Tuesday. Jasper Engines and Transmissions donated 10,000 level two surgical masks as well as boxes of ice cream for staff.

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — About 30 cloth-mask-clad Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center employees gathered in front of the hospital Tuesday morning holding signs that read “Thank you Jasper Engines for protecting us.”

Jasper Engines and Transmissions donated 10,000 level two surgical masks to the hospital, and the group gathered to receive the donation in a short celebration that lasted a few minutes. Jasper Engines also donated ice cream snacks for each department.

“This is an excellent example of how the community continues to support Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center,” said Kyle Bennett, the hospital’s president and CEO.

Jasper Engines and Transmissions President Doug Bawel called Bennett a few weeks ago to ask how JET could support the hospital during the COVID-19 emergency. Bennett suggested donating personal protection equipment.

“Our usage rates of PPE have gone up,” Bennett said.

Hospital staff wears level II surgical masks when they are interacting with patients. Although the hospital isn’t experiencing PPE shortages at this time, Bennett said, the masks have become harder to find. With the donation from Jasper Engines, Bennett said the hospital is well stocked with masks and will turn attention to finding more disposable isolation gowns.

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center staff stand holding signs thanking Jasper Engines and Transmissions for their donation of face masks at the hospital in Jasper on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s donation of masks is one of many donations the hospital has received from the community since the COVID-19 emergency began. Other donations include cloth masks from local craftsmen and donations of food for hospital staff. Bennett said all the donations are appreciated and have helped keep morale up.

“Those little acts of kindness mean a great deal,” he said.

As the COVID-19 emergency continues, Bennett and hospital spokesperson Melanie Powell urged the community to follow social distancing guidelines, even as measures are taken to reopen the economy.

“[Social distancing] has been a key to controlling this in our area, I believe,” Bennett said. “We don’t want people to discount the continued issue.”

They also urged people to continue seeking medical help if they need it. Powell said they’ve heard concerns from community members about coming to the hospital during the COVID-19 emergency.

“The concern is people are waiting longer to get the care they need,” Powell said.

She assured the community that the hospital is taking necessary precautions to be able to treat both COVID-19 patients and others in need.




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