As a young child, I used to love to hear my parents and grandparents tell stories of what it was like to live through the Great Depression and World War II. For example, my maternal grandpa told me how he built post offices all over the U.S during the depression years. My paternal grandpa told me that, during World War II, he broadcast a radio program to schools about how students could help the war effort by collecting tin cans, among other things. The COVID-19 pandemic, our moment of crisis, has me wondering what we will tell our friends and families about how we spent this unusual, traumatic time. What stories will you tell?
One story many of us will be able to articulate is that of making plastic shields for essential workers, primarily health care workers. As of Sunday, April 12, people connected with our congregation had made over 24,000 shields. It's really pretty amazing when you think of that! After a little email sent out by Pastor Kevin on a Wednesday afternoon letting people know of the opportunity to help, more than 7,000 shields were made in 24 hours. More and more people wanted to get involved. In fact, the word spread so quickly that Westbrook's Bryce Segna (a local CFO of Lakeview Corporation who was retooling their factory to make these shields) needed to come up with another plan to implement this hands-on effort. Bryce is needed to oversee operations at the plant so in the future, on Fridays and Tuesdays from 11-12 you can pick up or deliver shields at the plant. It has made a huge difference, if you haven't had a chance to be a part of this, consider it!
Here are the highlights of the experiences of some Westbrook members: Julie Falkenstein, busy assembling shields with her husband Roger, commented that she liked to pray over each and every shield that she was making. Tim Haunty was seen picking up 8 boxes, of 500 shields each, to bring home and give out to various family members and their connections. That’s 4,000 shields the Hauntys and connections put together, folks! Angie Larson was looking for something meaningful for her senior high school student, Austin, to do with his extra time around the house, so she signed him up! In the midst of Austin’s shield-making, the whole family got involved.
Some folks who were not able, on a work morning, to get to Lakeview Corporate Headquarters in Carver, came by our house to get some boxes of shields. These folks, like Brandon and Samantha and Chad and Laurie, put together shields at home in the evenings. There are many more of you that should and could be listed here.
I know, because I did it, that it is a huge accomplishment to complete a whole box of face shields. From young families and neighbors to retired people wanting to make a difference, we all jumped in to do something to lessen this crisis. Way to go, Westbrook and friends! What a story to share!
So when you are telling your grandchildren about the pandemic of 2020, you can tell how a little church with a big heart made a difference by making plastic face shields And you can include that you decided to be a part of it! Stay tuned for more information about the next phase of shield making.