Hillery Company — a custom metal fabrication shop located in Groton, Connecticut — is now producing aluminum strips to secure homemade face masks in effort to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by The Day, the shop started making the metal strips in response to a request for help by a nurse at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut. Now, the shop is shipping the pieces across the country with the help of volunteer labor, at an estimated cost to the shop of around 5 cents per piece. More from reporting conducted by The Day:
Hillery had more than 1,000 requests for the free metal nose strips this past week from as far away as Alaska, California and Hawaii, according to General Manager Joe de la Cruz. He posted videos on his Facebook page of the production process and of volunteers addressing and packing the strips for shipping.
In addition to making the strips and filling requests, de la Cruz has been sharing the specifications for the strips with other shops.
"So many companies can do exactly what we're doing," he said.
The hope is that other shops will follow suite to support hospital workers who are on the front lines of stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, according to the report, a few of Hillery's vendors, including Chapco Metal of Chester and Hadco Metal of Waterbury have stepped up and donated sheets of aluminum.
Meantime, Hillery CEO Jesse Riley set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the cost of shipping the metal strips.
"We are trying to move a mountain right now," said Joe de la Cruz, Hillery's general manager. If all goes according to plan, they won't have to do it alone.
Hillery Company, founded in 1952, is currently conducting a small portion of its normal fabrication business with a minimal crew for a customer that is a part of an essential service.
Visit our COVID-19 coverage page to read more on how the sheet metal and HVAC industry is responding to the pandemic.