In the pandemic’s direst times, those who risk their lives from exposure are considered heroes and deserve a standing ovation. More than 40 employees in a chemical company volunteered in a selfless mission to help produce materials for personal protective medical equipment for health care workers and other frontliners.
The factory workers spent 28 days making a polypropylene—a material used for N95 masks, and other types of personal protective equipment. And now, they’re finally returning home to their families.
The chemical company workers lived inside the facility and took separate 12-hour shifts making protective gear for the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve almost been the lucky ones, I’ll say, for the last 28 days, because I haven’t had to stand for six feet from somebody. I haven’t had to put a mask on,” said operations shift supervisor, Joe Boyce.
In the duration of the factory workers’ heroic sacrifice, they watched television for a spare time from their exhausting work shifts. Sometimes, their family members would drive by with signs of encouragement, lifting the spirits of the hardworking crew.
The chemical company decided to implement a rotation where workers can live inside the facility for the sake of their employee’s health and safety. Now that almost all countries are having shortages on medical and protective equipment, health workers and all those in the front lines have become more vulnerable.
Braskem workers couldn’t help but feel cheerful. The smiles on their faces and their giddy excitement are more apparent as they all clock out from their long shift. “There has been a glow in everyone’s eyes today; I’ll say,” Boyce remarked.
“We are truly honored to be able to give back and support people we would never meet in some way,” Boyce poignantly added.
The chemical company produces 771 million pounds of polypropylene every year. In a news release recently released by Braskem, Mark Nikolich expressed his gratitude to everyone in the vanguard fighting coronavirus.
“On behalf of the entire Braskem team, I want to offer our gratitude to all first responders and essential employees working every day across industries for coming together to help protect and serve our communities,” Nikolich said.
All crew members were given groceries, an iPad including internet access, and an increase in wages. The chemical company also provided the workers with beds and kitchens. Despite these, you can tell by the workers’ faces that their happiness is rooted beyond the financial and material rewards. So much has changed since they last saw the world. Braskem America’s dedicated employees finally got back home as fathers, spouses, and sons of their respective families.
Boyce went out of his way to thank everyone in the front lines. “First-responders, all the people on the front lines, we thank you for what you’ve done. That’s what makes our job easy to do,” he said.
There is still much work to be done to win against the pandemic while ensuring the country’s well-being. Indeed, the mountain is tall, but Baskem America’s crew proves how big and small sacrifices bring us closer to the goal. For now, the workers ought to rest in the company of their beloved.
Watch the crew’s reaction as they punch out and head home: