“What you really come to understand is that we’re really a small community and a small world,” said retired Brig. Gen. Trent Edwards, senior vice president of Military and Community Development at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
Accepting AFLAC’s donation, Edwards said the chamber’s quest for personal protective equipment (PPE) for people in Montgomery started with the comment a Baptist Health doctor made to her husband, who works for Alabama Power.
Dr. Mary Karst lamented about the lack of PPE to Keith Karst, Southern Division marketing manager at Alabama Power. Keith Karst mentioned the need to Leslie Sanders, vice president of Southern Division at Alabama Power, who then mentioned it to Edwards and led him to Dr. Joanna Newton at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. That led to a conversation with Sherry Farrugia, chief operating and strategy officer of Georgia Tech’s Pediatric Technology Center and director of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Partnership (and a native of Evergreen, Alabama).
Farrugia had seen Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed on national television explaining the situation in Montgomery, and Farrugia was looking for a way to help. AFLAC got involved and the result was Monday’s delivery of 10,000 face shields.
“We’ve still got more work to do,” Reed said. “We haven’t won the battle yet. We’re trying to get closer, but we still need everyone to do their part.”
Edwards acknowledged the large amount of PPE donations coming from individuals, families, organizations and businesses, ranging from homemade cloth masks to 3D-printed face shields. The military and the chamber even got involved.
“It’s just been a tremendous show of support,” Edwards said.