LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A family owned hardware business is donating nearly 100 respirators to help first responders and health care workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Cade Carter, the general manager of Carter's Ace Hardware, said he was inspired to donate the masks after seeing News 6's story on the Yalaha Bootlegging company making hand sanitzer instead of moonshine.
“We actually sell them propane that they use to make their moonshine, so we were like ‘Man that’s one of our customers, look what they’re doing,’” Carter said.
Carter said his family wanted to keep that momentum going. He said recently almost 100 respirators arrived to the nine stores his family owns across Central Florida. Instead of selling them to customers, his family donated the $1,400 worth of protective gear to those who need it the most.
"Obviously we could put them out on the floor. With the frenzy right now with masks they would be gone before lunchtime, but we know where they can be the most impactful," Carter said.
Carter and store employees dropped of 50 N95 and N100 masks to the Lake County Office of Emergency Management on Thursday.
Thomas Carpenter, the director of the Lake County EOC, said this is the first major donation like this it has received. Carpenter adds with the worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment, this donation will help hospital workers and first responders stay safe.
"This is the kind of personal protective equipment our healthcare providers and first responders should have," Carpenter said. "It's going to protect them so that they can serve our public. To me there's no better donation or reinvestment back into the county that can be made."
After donating the respirators to Lake County, Carter said they donated 40 masks to AdventHealth Waterman.
“We are so appreciative and humbled by the overwhelming amount of support we have received from our local community. Small business owners, restaurants and individuals who are helping us in so many ways. Whether donating PPE, providing our team with food, ringing bells, drive through prayer services and placing encouraging signs around our campus - we are blessed,” an AdventHealth Waterman spokesperson said in a statement.
Carter is hoping this will encourage members of the community to do their part and help those who are working on the front lines.
"We were inspired by other people too. We can create this ripple effect to go out throughout the whole community and maybe other people will step up, if they have the capacity to do that," Carter said.
Click here for more information on how you can donate to AdventHealth Waterman.