Supporting the COVID-19 pandemic from home

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

As the operations chief on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak, Chief Petty Officer Bob McCormick, is accustomed to being on the frontlines of homeland security conducting search and rescue and maritime security.

However, during the global pandemic caused by a new coronavirus, healthcare professionals are on the frontlines as most of the world is asked to stay home to help stop the spread of the virus.

McCormick found a way to support the COVID-19 efforts, while staying home by making face shields.

“I have a canvas and upholstery business for boats and awnings, so we already had the materials,” he said. “I saw there was a shortage of (Personal Protective Equipment) and I wanted to do something to help the community and healthcare providers.”

According to the Center for Disease Control website, facemasks help prevent large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter that may contain germs from reaching the mouth and nose of the person wearing the mask.

Using the website, McCormick identified local healthcare facilities in need of masks.

Within four days, McCormick spent nearly 30 hours creating about 100 masks all from his garage for use throughout the state of Hawaii.

McCormick’s first batch of masks were delivered to the Institute of Human Services Hawaii.

“I was so moved to see a real community response to a real need,” said Connie Mitchell, IHS Hawaii executive director. “We provide services to our homeless and the face shields were so helpful in allowing us to meet our goal.”

Additionally, McCormick delivered masks to the Aiea Medical Center and sent more masks to a friend who is a nurse at the Hilo Medical Center on the Big Island.

“I felt helpless locked up at the house,” said the Guam native. “I’m happy I’m able to make a positive impact and help those on the front lines.”

McCormick plans to continue working his way down the list of organizations in need on

Editor’s note: Links to websites do not imply Air Force endorsement.