Acacia Aster Broder
Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)
CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. — When Bald Eagle Area Athletic Director Doug Dyke realized that people were in need of face masks and local fire and EMS companies were in need of funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he came up with an idea he thought could help with both issues.
Dyke began selling blue-and-gold masks with the BEA logo for $8 apiece to benefit the five fire and three EMS companies that serve the school district. As of early July, Dyke has sold over 2,400 masks to students, faculty, parents and community members.
Dyke attributes their popularity not only to the design, but also to the feel of the masks. They are lightweight and comfortable, especially during the summer months when people are worried about overheating.
“I think that’s why people like them,” he said. “Nothing’s as comfortable as of course not having anything in front of your face, but unless it’s a hot day, they don’t get as warm on your face as some other ones.”
Dyke did not expect the demand for the masks to be as intense as it has been.
Three elementary schools, a fire department and transportation companies have been just some organizations that have placed orders through Dyke, who orders the masks through sports equipment company Riddell. The district’s Parent-Teacher Association also placed an order to supply teachers with the school spirit-inspired masks.
While the large-scale demand has been surprising, most of the masks are being sold to individuals on a smaller scale.
Said Dyke: “Mostly it’s four here, five there.”
So far, the demand for the masks has continued.
“A lady said she was at the hairdresser and saw one, so she wanted to know if she could still get some,” Dyke said. “ If there’s a demand for them, I guess we’ll keep ordering them as long as we can.”
With the possibility of mask-wearing continuing into the school year, Dyke hopes that he’ll see students in the fall wearing them, and is even holding onto a few extra for those in need of a mask.
While Dyke appreciates the continued support from the community, he’s hoping the demand will slow down so that the money that’s been collected can finally be donated to the fire and EMS companies. He said he’ll release the final fundraising total at the end of the sale.
After hearing about how local EMS services have struggled and have had difficulty paying employees, Dyke realized donating the mask funds would be a good way to give back to the community.
“You hear about how they’re struggling at times to get donations … it just seemed like the right things to do,” Dyke said. “And we have kids at the school that are part of those organizations, so you want to show your appreciation and help more kids volunteer.
“It’s going right back into the community.”
©2020 the Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)