In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Triumph Group of Hot Springs has contracted with 18 area sewing enthusiasts to have already produced 10,500 face masks in just two weeks to be donated.
One of the benefactors of Triumph Group’s face mask donations is the City of Hot Springs, which was provided with more than 1,200 handmade masks on April 28, 2020. Teri Vann – the City’s Health and Safety Officer in the Office of Human Resources – will be distributing masks to each of the more than 600 employees.
“We are trying to cover as many faces as possible,” said Wesley Harbour, tooling manager at Triumph Group in Hot Springs. “A lot of our sister companies and customers did not have the capabilities to make or acquire masks, and many are under shelter-in-place orders.”
Some of the airlines to which they have donated face masks include American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Republic Airways. The Triumph location in Hot Springs specializes in the repair and overhaul of commercial, regional and military nacelles and flight control surfaces. Window shades and other aircraft interiors are also manufactured there.
“The same capabilities, equipment, skill and passion that we use to deliver best-in-class products to our customers, we’ve put toward making these masks,” said Pete Gibson, president of Triumph Airborne Structures. “Pulling together to support others is the very nature of this team, and I could not be more proud of their selflessness.”
With regards to how their plant is producing so many masks, Harbour said, “We have one sewing machine in-house, so we reached out to seamstresses in the community and are reimbursing them.” The seamstresses, which were found via sewing circles and outreach through Facebook, are from Hot Springs, Bismarck, Mount Ida and other nearby areas. They sew them and get them to the Triumph Group facility, where they are washed and packaged by employees wearing gloves and masks before they are distributed.
“Triumph Group’s ingenuity and generosity – reaching out to have thousands of masks sewn to be given to those in need – is a gesture worth celebrating. It offers hope that we will emerge from this challenging time stronger than ever,” said Hot Springs City Manager Bill Burrough. “The City of Hot Springs and our dedicated group of employees sincerely thanks Triumph Group and all those involved in making and donating these face masks. The City has had to take drastic measures to ensure our services continue uninterrupted, such as alternate work schedules for many of our critical crews. These face coverings will not only aid us in continuing to provide essential services, but also in providing an example to our community members of the importance of wearing face masks to stop this virus so we can restart our economy.”
The majority of City of Hot Springs’ employees and their duties are considered a Homeland Security Essential Service. Some of the specific departments and divisions deemed essential include Police, Fire, Public Works, Streets, Solid Waste, Information Systems, Water and Wastewater. Clerical and office staff that support these departments are also essential. The few positions that do not fall into an essential job function may have to be temporarily relocated to roles supporting these essential functions during the ongoing pandemic response.