Cleveland-based protective helmet company donating 10,000 cloth masks to healthcare workers

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Team Wendy, a Cleveland-based company that specializes in heavy duty protective head wear, is making thousands of cloth masks to donate to local health care workers.

"It's a nice psychological play for our team," said CEO Jose Rizo-Patron. "This is an emotional time for everybody and it really just helps everybody get more excited to make an additional contribution."

The company’s production team includes a group of professional sewers; they have pivoted their work behind the walls of an understated building in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood to make masks instead of their normal products.

Rizo-Patron said the goal is to make 10,000 masks, although they could produce more if materials are available.

“It definitely does feel good,” he said. “We’ve also noticed within our industry, which is nice, when you do these things people want to sort of piggyback as well. So we hope to also play a role in that momentum, establishing forward leaning posture from other people that have space and capabilities and we can collectively as a community, do our part, whatever that may be.”

Help and service is how the business was born.

Founder Dan T. Moore started the company in 1997 as a tribute to his daughter, Wendy, who died in a skiing accident.

“The culture at the company is built around the legacy of Wendy Moore. The passion that drives us every day is mission driven,” said Rizo-Patron.

The company first started making ski helmets and soon expanded to include head wear for search and rescue teams, law enforcement and the U.S. military.

“It’s a very unique story. Something out of a tragedy that turned into something very positive," Rizo-Patron told 19 News.

The masks will be donated in batches of 1,000; starting with a donation to University Hospitals. The Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center are all expected to receive donations too.

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