Call it support for cross-border nursing. In what’s been dubbed the Goodwill Ambassador program, Elmira Stove Works has made a donation to hospitals across the Detroit River.
The donation from the Elmira-based company is part of a multi-pronged initiative, said Tony Dowling, vice-president of sales and marketing.
“The first part is donating a fridge and equivalent value in cash to a hospital in Windsor Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. The fridge is for one of the nurses’ lunchrooms, and the cash is to buy PPE (personal protective equipment).”
The hospitals in question are the Detroit Medical Center Harper University Hospital and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor.
Dowling says the inspiration for the charitable act came from “hearing stories of the health-care workers and first responders and the exposure they have to this virus.”
The company decided it would like to do its part to help combat the virus, choosing a specific aspect as the goal. After further research, Dowling says he “started reading the stories about the border nurses from Canada that are going into the States to work.”
The two hospitals were selected since they are on either side of the Ambassador Bridge. An estimated 1,600 nurses are travelling from Windsor to Detroit each day, using the bridge or the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.
Elmira Stove Works sources many of its materials from American suppliers, and sells the majority of its products into the U.S. market
“Here’s a border that almost doesn’t exist – it’s so transparent, except for today since it’s been shut down to non-essential travel,” said Dowling of the usual flow of goods between Windsor and Detroit.
The State of Michigan is one of the COVID-19 epicentres in the United States. As of midweek, there were more than 48,000 cases and 4,700 deaths, with about 40 per cent in Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit. With a population of less than a third of Canada’s – just 1.8 million in Wayne County – the state has seen almost as many deaths as this country, where the numbers stood at some 70,000 cases and 5,000 deaths.
Dowling said the goal is to have the fridges assembled and out of the factory for Friday, aiming for them to be in the hospitals next week.
In addition to their charitable actions, Elmira Stove Works is also offering appliance discounts to both first responders and health-care workers across the continent. The company specializes in vintage style appliances, including mid-century modern and retro units such as ranges, refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers and the like.