FYFFE, Ala. — A northeast Alabama sock manufacturer switched gears and came up with a darned good idea to help out during the coronavirus pandemic, producing face coverings for medical personnel.
The company donated 30,000 masks to Marshall Medical Centers and 10,000 to Shepherd’s Cove Hospice on Friday, the newspaper reported.
“We are very, very grateful,” Beth Ann Parnell, chief public relations officer for Shepherd’s Cove, told the Reporter. “As a community-based, nonprofit hospice … we’re grateful for suppliers like Bur-Tex that have allowed us to be able to provide masks to our patients and families who are in need of them at this time.”
“This is such a generous donation,” Andrea Oliver, director of the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers, told the newspaper. “This is going to help so many people, not just our employees but our patients as well.”
Brent Burgess, the company’s chief operating executive, said Bur-Tex had to close operations because of the pandemic. When retailers approached him with a request to make the masks, Burgess readily agreed.
“We had a bunch of inventory laying around, and we wanted to help the front line people who aren’t able to get the masks,” Burgess told the Register.
Burgess said the transition to making masks was “pretty easy.” A skeleton crew used a standard ankle-length sock as a model and produced more than 1.5 million masks, Burgess told the newspaper.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time trying to keep holes out of socks, so we just figured out how to put two holes in one that way they stayed over your ears,” Burgess told the Reporter. “(Employees) are able to take them home to their families, they’re reusable, they’re washable … so it’s actually saving companies and businesses a lot of money by using these.”
Bur-Tex is also selling masks to the public, charging $10 for a pack of four. Burgess said the company will open a drive-thru station at the company factory for customers.
In addition to making masks for businesses, Burgess said they would be opening a drive-thru at the factory to offer the masks to the public at $10 for a pack of four.
“We’ll be having a line that people can come through and purchase (masks) for their families if they are not able to get them at retailers,” Burgess told the Reporter. “Any way that we can help out the public, that’s what we’re here for."