SARASOTA –– A generous donation by a grateful resident this week benefitted first responders and others on the front lines in the city of Sarasota in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carolyn Michel, a professional actor who’s called Sarasota home for four decades, donated 1,000 newly fabricated protective face shields to the city.
“This is something I wanted to do,” Michel said in a press release from the city. “You feel so helpless with what’s going on. I can’t even buy hand sanitizer for myself, but I could do this. It makes sense and it feels effective, especially knowing that the face shields will be put to good use to protect first responders and others who need them.”
Michel said the idea for the donation sprouted from a shared familial desire to help others during the public health emergency. Michel’s cousin heard about Table Mountain Innovation, Inc., a medical device manufacturing company in the Denver area, which recently converted its operations to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). Michel’s cousin purchased and donated a large quantity of shields to first responders in her community in Colorado.
Wanting to do something similar for her Sarasota, Michel contacted the company owner and personally placed an order for 1,000 face shields to donate to the city.
Each shield is a solitary piece and slides over the head to provide full ear-to-ear and chin-to-forehead safety protection. The shields can be reused and are spacious enough to wear over a N-95 mask and safety goggles.
“These protective face shields will be given to the dedicated men and women with the Sarasota Police Department and those in public safety working hard on the frontlines to help protect them from this very contagious coronavirus,” Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering said. “Some also may be distributed to those who have direct contact with the most vulnerable in our community, including elder care facilities and agencies that assist the unsheltered.”
“This is such a generous and unexpected gift for the community,” Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch said. “PPE is in high demand right now and we are so grateful to Carolyn for this thoughtful donation to help protect those on the frontlines as they help the Sarasota community.”