Leadership at Good Samaritan Society heard through word-of-mouth that John Deere, a manufacturing company known for its iconic green tractors, was donating face shields in vast quantities. Ten thousand of those high-quality face shields went to Good Samaritan Society locations in Iowa.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) enables caregivers to interact with residents without fear of spreading highly contagious diseases like COVID-19. It protects those working on the front lines and with high-risk populations, such as residents at senior care centers. However, at the beginning of the pandemic, PPE was in short supply.
During a time when health care organizations across the country were struggling to find protective resources, John Deere’s donation was a blessing. Through John Deere’s generosity and the Society’s existing partnership with Sanford Health, caregivers in Iowa got the protection they needed.
“Health care professionals are part of our community. We’re in constant contact with them and those personal connections are what led to action,” said David Ottavianelli, director of strategic projects – labor relations at John Deere. “We knew we had to do more to protect the true heroes of this fight: our local health care workers.”
Seeds of donation
In early April, the John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Illinois, altered their production processes to build face shields for front-line workers. Initially, the company planned to create and donate 225,000 shields to communities around their factories. But by the end of May, their team had shipped a total of 405,000 shields.
While most PPE is single-use, face shields are reusable and washable. Wearing a face shield helps protect the integrity of masks, meaning they can be used safely for longer periods.
Donations like John Deere’s do more than protect caregivers, according to Dustin Scholz, regional vice president of operations in Iowa and Illinois for the Society.
“Community support helps inspire the people who are on the front lines and providing care. It shows they have a lot of people and support behind them, and that keeps the fire going for them,” Scholz said.
Celebrating with seniors
To show gratitude for John Deere’s generosity, Society locations across Iowa held John Deere Appreciation Day on June 5. Each location celebrated in its own way, some with caregivers wearing John Deere apparel and others with a parade of John Deere vehicles around the center.
Ottavianelli felt humbled by the day.
“Our appreciation goes out to all the front-line workers,” he said. “They’re the true heroes in this. We’re humbled that we were able to help them out in a crisis.”
While John Deere didn’t expect to be recognized for their donation, the company made a difference that didn’t go unnoticed.
“I’m sending any and every person that played a part in the donation, whether big or small, a heartfelt thank you from all the people we serve,” Scholz said. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank them.”
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