Written by Frank Lopez
With the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a challenge to find positive news headlines, but many local businesses are doing their part for thee community.
With a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), U.S. hospitals and medical centers are asking the public for donations.
While some companies have taken it upon themselves to aid in the efforts — such as the My Pillow company refocusing 75% of its production to make face masks for health care workers, there are also efforts here in the Central Valley.
The Charles McMurray Co. — a wholesale cabinet, door and surfacing products distributor with its main warehouse in Fresno — has donated 1,300 N95 masks to the Community Regional Medical Center to support its health care workers.
Michael Derafael, purchasing director and customer services manager at the Charles McMurray Co., a third generation family business entering its 75th year of operations, said that businesses has slowed for them, but that fortunately the government has deemed the company essential.
About three weeks ago, right as the number of positive infections began to climb and executive orders required people to shelter in place, Derafael said a shipment of N95 masks arrived at the warehouse.
The company, run by CEO Charlie McMurray, uses the masks for its employees during the handling of materials used for its products.
“They started to get a really high demand, and people were trying to buy pallets and cases from us, and we started limiting it so we could supply all of our customers, not allowing one person to hoard it,” Derafael said. “It got to the point where our hospitals were getting more serious, so Charlie decided to give what we had left to CRMC.”
A 20-count box of N95 masks has a retail market value of around $35, Derafael said.
Derafael said that McMurray simply called the hospital to facilitate the donation, which picked up the masks from the warehouse.
“Charlie, he and his family grew up here,” Derafael said. “They’ve gone through good times and bad times in the community, and we do our best to take care of our employees and our customers. He saw an opportunity to help — he has that kind of heart and he leads our business that way, and he saw a need and wanted to fulfill it.”