The North Texas community is rallying in some pretty incredible ways to support local health care workers who are bravely serving on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. From fundraisers that generate meals for courageous hospital workers to large gifts of hand sanitizer and N95 medical masks, North Texas has heeded the call, providing much-needed support for our health care heroes.
Local Companies Step up to the Plate
When Merrilee Kick, CEO of Carrollton-based BuzzBallz/Southern Champion distillery and winery learned that the spread of COVID-19 was causing a hand sanitizer shortage, she wanted to help. She consulted with state authorities and the World Health Organization to get necessary permissions and formula standards, and went to work creating large batches of the much-needed hand sanitizer.
Kick remembered the care she received years ago at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and wanting to give back. “During that time, being a teacher, my salary was low, and my cancer bills were high. It was close to $10,000 — which was far more than I could afford,” she recalled. “When I asked for help, Texas Health worked with me.”
She connected with Nate Mickish, vice president of strategic sourcing for the health system, and learned that some of our hospitals were facing a critical shortage of hand sanitizer. She made a batch of the hand sanitizer, and after confirming it met our standards, quickly distributed it to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford with more deliveries planned.
Mickish estimates Kick’s donation will enable Texas Health to distribute some 1,000 eight-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer. “This tells me that everyone is taking this outbreak seriously, and willing to do what they can to help. The need arose and the community answered.”
Carrollton-based printing and marketing company Exalt Printing helped source hand sanitizer bottles for Texas Health, then in turn donated 50,000 labels to go on each of the bottles — their way of saying “thanks.”
Arlington-based DX Electric Company also stepped forward with a donation of 23 cases of N95 medical face masks delivered to our headquarters. Winjie Miao, senior executive vice president and chief experience officer at Texas Health, met with representatives of the company to thank them in person, saying, “We are so grateful for the kind gesture which adds to our currently adequate supply. It’s a great example of North Texans looking out for each other during this global pandemic.”
DX Electric Company has a stock of N95 masks and typically distributes them to industrial manufacturing companies. Beckey Fuller, the company’s president, adds “I knew we had to get them out of our inventory for industrial purposes and into the hospitals and care centers that needed them to save lives.”
According to Shaun Clinton, senior vice president of Supply Chain Management at Texas Health, if Texas Health doesn’t need the masks, they’ll provide them to others in need.
In addition, North Texas communities of faith, including Bishop T.D. Jakes’ The Potter’s House Church showed their appreciation for frontline health care workers with a donation of hundreds of meals to Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. What a perfect way to thank our team for their selfless work during the pandemic!
Texas Health Foundation COVID-19 Fund
The North Texas community has also been generous in its support through financial and in-kind donations made to the Texas Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. These gifts are providing direct support to health care workers, providing for their basic needs like safe shelter, food and nutrition, and daycare. The Fund also helps pay for needed critical medical equipment and supplies.
We’d like to tell you two stories about the generosity of North Texans, one of a determined twelve-year-old and the other about a professional athlete’s appreciation for his father’s health care team. Jack Wightman, a Highland Park eighth-grader, recently donated 100 3D-printed ear guards to care teams at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where both he and his sister were born at the Margot Perot Center.
Ear guards relieve pressure on the back of health care practitioners’ ears caused by prolonged use of masks. Jake’s dad, Thomas tells us, “He was looking for a way to help people in health care. Originally he wanted to print yard signs and donate the proceeds, but then he saw this idea on an Instagram post. He is a determined guy and just plowed forward.”
Jake purchased a 3D printer over Easter weekend using money he’d earned and quickly learned how to use it. He says he’s already printing more and will be able to drop off another shipment soon!
Meanwhile, thanks to the care his father received at Texas Health HEB, Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner made a generous $50,000 gift to our COVID-19 Response Fund. Turner’s gift will benefit the immediate needs of frontline caregivers at the hospital.
“My family and I are extremely grateful for the dedication and care Texas Health gave my father,” Turner said. “We weren’t able to be with him while he was being treated, which was really hard, but knowing how well he was cared for gave us a lot of comfort. That’s why we wanted to give something back to the people who dedicated themselves to getting him back to health. We prayed for his recovery every day and are thankful to have him home.”
Turner’s father, David, who’s recovered from the virus, said, “I wasn’t able to see my family for a number of days, which was very tough. I feel strongly that having loved ones by your side at a time like that can affect how you get through it. In my case I was right. My nurses — Jacqueline, Julianne, Jenna and Shelby — were my blessing. I can’t express enough how appreciative I am for the care they gave me. They worked tirelessly to save my life, feel a sense of encouragement and keep me smiling.”
In addition to Myles Turner’s gift, Moody Foundation, Gateway Church and Sands Capital have provided lead gifts to support the greatest needs of frontline caregivers. The Foundation also has received a number of substantial in-kind gifts of personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and more than 23,000 meals for caregivers at Texas Health Dallas from donors, including Highland Park United Methodist Church and World Central Kitchen.
“All of us at Texas Health Resources continue to be humbled and encouraged by the wonderful generosity of our friends and neighbors,” said Jay McAuley, Texas Health Foundation president. “From the very beginning of this pandemic, our community has stepped up to help with donations for things like meals, daycare needs and hotel accommodations through support of our COVID-19 Response Fund.
Acts of Kindness Supporting Health Care Workers
From children to seniors, celebrities, athletes and everyday folks, North Texans have rallied behind our health care workers during this unprecedented time, showing their admiration and support. North Texas-based country singer Pat Green tweeted this thanks in a #Gratitune song tribute, as citizens across the Metroplex made some noise to honor frontline workers — nurses, doctors and first responders — amid the coronavirus crisis.
From the curbside salutes from law enforcement, EMS and fire departments to small acts of appreciation like a child’s drawing displayed on a mailbox or front window, know that your support means the world to us — and motivates us for another day! On behalf of our health care heroes, thank you!