WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WTVY) -- Tray Hawkins, Chairman of the Washington County, Florida Board of County Commissioners announced today that the county has commenced a grass roots effort to alleviate the local shortage of surgical face masks by partnering with local businesses to manufacture the masks.
'When I mentioned to Terry Ellis of WestPoint Home that we were considering starting our own manufacturing effort of the masks, he immediately contributed materials to do just that’, said Hawkins in an interview on Friday, March 23, 2020.
'This is a sterling example of a community coming together to fix a problem’, said Hawkins.
The effort stems from the nationwide shortage of surgical masks, necessary for health care workers and the public to avoid contracting the COVID-19 virus through personal contact.
WestPoint Home, longtime Chipley manufacturing plant and local employer manufactures bedding, comforters, quilts and similar products.
'We recognized that WestPoint probably had all the raw materials we need for this effort and we knew before we spoke to Mr. Ellis that they would be willing to help us’, said Hawkins on Monday.
Fleener Cleaners on Highway 90 in Chipley has volunteered to wash and sanitize the finished products when the masks are ready for distribution to the community, and anyone interested in getting some of the masks should contact the Washington County, Florida Government Annex.
Local resident Corey Odom offered Hawkins the use of an industrial sewing machine as soon as Hawkins made known his effort to enlist the community.
'We will get through this together’, said Odom on Monday, ‘and we appreciate living in a community which has this much heart, soul and love for one another’.
‘God bless you', said Tray Hawkins, 'we will get through this together'.