Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill.
MACON — More than 600 face shields were delivered Tuesday to nursing homes, fire departments and other first responder agencies throughout Central Illinois, including the Macon Eastern Star Home.
The equipment was made possible by a unique partnership that includes the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and John Deere and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis.
"It is facilities like Eastern Star, some of the first responders in some of our smaller rural communities that haven't had the access, to kind of band together for large-scale purchases," said Davis, R-Taylorville. "We wanted to get these supplies to places where 100 masks can make a world of difference for a budget that is already fighting to get through the fiscal year."
Other recipients Tuesday were McLean County Nursing Home, Savoy Fire House, the Monticello Fire Department and DeWitt County ESDA.
Two months ago, personal protective equipment was hard to come by and many workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic relied on homemade face masks to protect themselves. State and local leaders are filling the gap in producing and distributing face coverings for workers who come into contact with some of the most vulnerable citizens every day.
Employees of John Deere built the masks, which are reusable and recyclable, according to a spokesperson from Davis' office. Davis helped identify local need across his congressional district at nursing homes and first responder agencies.
Tuesday's delivery comes a week after donations were made to Christian-Montgomery County EMA, Dunn's Ambulance and the Taylorville Care Center, as well as Aperion Care and Springfield Supportive Living Center.
Davis reiterated that there are still shortages of personal protective equipment and urged that those in need reach out to the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. Gov. J.B. Pritzker in March started the partnership with the association to oversee the creation and distribution of more PPE. They were also tasked with creating a donation program.
"We've been leading the effort to secure reliable, reasonably priced supplies of PPE and other equipment such as ventilators and supplies such as hand sanitizer and making those available, sort of on a priority basis, to first responders, to medical facilities," said Gordy Hulten, vice president of external affairs for the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "As schools plan to reopen in the fall, I believe the state of Illinois is working on a plan to provide them with PPE from some of these more reliable, reasonably priced supply chains."
©2020 the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.)