Two different marine companies made generous donations of respirator masks this week– and we mean tens of thousands of masks.
Pasadena Boat Works, a northern Anne Arundel County service shop and dealer of Carolina Skiffs and other new and used powerboats, made local headlines by donating two large truckloads of N95 respirator masks to the Maryland Department of Health.
Weaver Boat Works, a custom fishing boat builder located on the south end of Anne Arundel County in Tracys Landing, saw the story and decided to donate its own supply of 7,000 N95 masks, usually worn by boat shop employees.
The two donations together will make a big difference, given that masks have been constantly in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pasadena Boat Works owner Rick Levin had the 14,000 masks in a storage unit. Why? He had been active in a foundation to help child cancer patients, and had the idea to create fun-patterned ventilator masks. The “Kenzie Cover” was inspired by nine-year-old Mackenzie Stuck who fought cancer and bedazzled the masks she wore during chemotherapy. Levin says the first 6,000 mask-and-cover kits were given away to hospitals for kids like Kenzie. But after she passed away in 2010, the program went on hiatus.
Levin, together with Pasadena Boat Works General Manager Nick Doestch, offered the boxes and boxes of masks to the state of Maryland.
Doetsch says the health department was shocked and surprised by the size of the donation, calling it an “absolute godsend.” Levin tells Bay Bulletin he believes, “If she were alive today, Kenzie would love this.”
The Pasadena Boat Works donation got the Weaver family, of Weaver Boat Works, thinking about profit versus philanthropy.
Jim Weaver, owner (with his wife Vicki), tells us he ordered their masks back in November, for his 40 employees to use. The Weavers also own Deale Hardware & Home Store, and as Jim points out, “I could’ve sold them no problem, because they’re so in demand.”
He talked to his workers and they all agreed to give up the disposable N95 masks for donations, switching to a permanent-type mask instead. They also gave away 1,050 boxes of nitrile gloves, typically used by employees handling epoxy. Weaver says the state directed his mask and glove donations to Anne Arundel County, for first responders to use when handling possible COVID-19 patients.
Weaver’s daughter, Ashley Hangliter, a manager at Weaver Boat Works, coordinated with the county on the donations. She calls it a civic duty to offer help to first responders:
“There is no point in life more vulnerable than when you need to call upon first responders. if there is anything we can do to help those who stand in harm’s way, it is the least we can do to put community before profit.”
–Meg Walburn Viviano