ARNOLD AFB, Tenn. – Local frontline health care workers received another round of support amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as National Aerospace Solutions (NAS) has again donated a large supply of personal protective equipment to the Coffee County Health Department (CCHD) in Manchester.
On May 12, NAS personnel delivered 2,000 KN95 masks to the CCHD. The masks were provided by Bechtel, the parent company of NAS, which has been providing company projects with disaster relief supplies from the inventory at the Bechtel Equipment Operations (BEO) center in Texas. The supplies are provided to these company projects, such as NAS, the Test Operations and Sustainment Contractor at Arnold Air Force Base, to serve as donations to local medical facilities and first responders.
“In coordination with our parent company Bechtel, NAS is pleased to provide this support to the CCHD,” said NAS General Manager Dr. Rich Tighe. “The people at the CCHD, as well as the coordinating agencies that CCHD works with in the region, are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are proud to do a small part to assist them.”
NAS Integrated Resources Director Kevin Chalmers requested the masks from BEO. NAS Executive Officer Justin Garrard delivered the shipment to the CCHD.
“I think the need is still there,” Garrard said. “I know the Coffee County Health Department said they’re still having issues supplying PPE, especially N95 masks, so we’re very grateful that we were able to get 2,000 masks that we could supply them.”
Garrard said the CCHD is offering free COVID-19 testing. The NAS donation will aid in this, as health department staff is required to wear the proper PPE when administering the tests.
“You basically drive right up to the front door, call them and they come out, and they’ll give you a test for free,” Garrard said. “Every time that happens, they have to make sure they have all the PPE they need to go out and perform the test. That’s why it’s good that we were able to donate these masks so that they would have them for that testing.”
Garrard said staff at the CCHD expressed their appreciation for the latest donation.
“They were very thankful,” Garrard said. “They talked about how much they appreciated that we were able to support them again, and they’re very thankful for all the donations that we’ve been able to provide them during this time.”
The CCHD is part of a 12-county regional COVID-19 response group. Health care facilities within this group, the Tennessee Department of Health South Central Regional Health Department, have been sharing supplies. NAS also supported their efforts in April with a donation of disaster relief items totaling more than 1,300 pounds that included masks, gloves, toilet paper, paper towels and coveralls.
“The South Central Regional Health Department would like to extend our sincerest thanks to National Aerospace Solutions for their second generous donations of personal protective equipment,” said Madison Toney, Assessment and Planning Coordinator and Public Information Officer for the Tennessee Department of Health South Central Regional Office. “The donation of 2,000 KN95 masks will be distributed across the 12 counties and 13 different health departments in the South Central Region. The masks will continue to help to protect not only our staff in the health departments, but also our patients and community members that we assess and treat. Aside from use by employees in the health department, the masks will also aid in providing protective face coverings for the community. This mask donation will continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and promote safety in our communities.
“The South Central Regional Health Department and the County Health Departments appreciate all of the outpouring support that has been received from local community members and agencies during the response to COVID-19. We would also like to thank all of the residents in the South Central Region for all of your hard work and dedication in following the recommended ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With all of us working together to protect ourselves and our fellow community members, we will slow the spread and lessen the effects of COVID-19.”