By Cathy Broberg
Those of us not on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic often feel helpless. Sheltering in place doesn’t feel like much of a contribution. Jamie and Bob Mills from Wm. J. Mills & Co., Greenport, N.Y., were among those who wanted pitch in. The brothers designed a face shield they planned to make and donate. But then others heard about it and the effort grew—and produced 8,000 shields.
Their employees cut out the vinyl and Velcro needed for the shields. Volunteers, including members of the North Fork High School robotics team, assembled the shields at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., which had enough clean space to allow for social distancing. Nearby Woodside Orchards was also involved.
“It’s been a real community effort. I’m very proud of it. And people are amazing,” says Bob. The Greenport Business Improvement District, a local nonprofit, set up a GoFundMe account to cover the cost of materials, with an original goal of $25,000—but they raised nearly $48,000. Any balance will be donated to the local hospital. The shields were donated to fire and police departments, hospitals, grocery stores and drug stores—anyone that has an employee dealing with the public, says Jamie.
Cathy Broberg is a writer and editor from the Minneapolis area.