In another example of businesses supporting health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, clothing line company Tommy John has donated 2,110 items to Sanford Health workers.
The clothing line delivered undershirts, camisoles and underwear for men and women at an event June 11 at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Close to home
Tom Patterson is the CEO and co-founder of Tommy John, based in New York.
He and Erin Fujimoto, his wife and business partner, have been donating their products to health care workers across the nation throughout the pandemic.
“It’s a way for us to give back during a really tough and challenging time,” Patterson said. “It’s something fun. A product like underwear and pajamas isn’t something that’s often gifted.”
While Patterson and Fujimoto have helped across the nation, the donation to Sanford Health hits closer to home.
“I’m from Milbank. South Dakota is my home state. I read about the COVID crisis starting to hit here about a month and a half ago. I have a lot of friends and family involved in the health care industry here in South Dakota and reached out and wanted to offer some products here to my home state,” Patterson said.
While the gesture may seem small, the impact is large.
“It’s amazing how, whether it’s Tom and Erin or other businesses and individuals throughout our community, the way that they’ve shown support. They know these individuals are truly our front line workers, and we are so grateful for their support,” said Sanford Health vice president of nursing and clinical services Kelly Hefti in Sioux Falls.
“It’s incredible how much our community and our whole country has come together to donate to health care workers. We really, really appreciate it,” said Sanford Health critical care nurse Hayden Yeradi. “It’s nice knowing everyone’s here to support us.”
“It makes coming to work every day so much easier. … It’s a community effort. We all have each other’s backs,” Yeradi added.
Keeping spirits high
Patterson and Fujimoto have felt the impact of the pandemic firsthand through Tommy John.
“Our business has been affected by the crisis, just like many others. We have a retail business that has been nonexistent the last three months,” Patterson said.
However, carrying out these kinds of donations has been their way of keeping spirits high – not only to those they donate to, but also themselves.
“You see a lot of the bad and the dark, but there is a lot of good out there. Being in a position we are as a business able to do these things, is really what it’s all about at the end of the day,” he said.
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