Our East End business community continues to inspire us with their immense generosity and dedication to helping those most vulnerable to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Our heroes this week are One Source Tool Supply, Inc. in Southampton and Riverhead Building Supply, who joined forces with Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming to provide a large supply of vital protective equipment to local veterans.
On Thursday, April 16, these two local building and construction trades companies donated over 100 disposable protective coveralls to the healthcare workers of the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University. The donations came about after the businesses learned of a supply shortage of the personal protective equipment. The Long Island State Veterans Home, which is a part of Stony Brook Medicine Health Sciences, is a 350-bed nursing facility that serves honorably discharged veterans, spouses/widows and Gold Star parents. The full-time physicians on site are certified in geriatrics, internal medicine and palliative care, and a dedicated in-house staff also provides short term rehabilitation including physical, occupational and speech therapy with state-of-the-art equipment. The Home is on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, and facing the considerable complications the pandemic brings to those in a long-term care setting. As of April 17, 57 residents had tested positive for virus—54 were at the Veterans Home, and three were receiving treatment at Stony Brook University Hospital. Five residents were considered persons under investigation awaiting test results. During the week, seven veterans returned to the Home from Stony Brook University Hospital. The Home sadly reports that that 32 residents have passed since the beginning of the outbreak on March 10. A majority of these veterans had multiple comorbidities, which likely contributed to their demise.
The South Fork donation request came from Legislator Fleming after learning that the Home was facing challenges securing critical protective gear from usual healthcare industry suppliers. The protective one-piece coveralls used by those in building trades such as painters and other contractors are similar to the typical protective garments commonly used by staff at the Home. One Source Tool Supply, Inc. on County Road 39A in Southampton, which provides sales, service and rental of tools to the construction industry, and Riverhead Building Supply, a provider of construction materials with locations throughout Long Island, Connecticut and Rhode Island, stepped forward with donations after speaking with Legislator Fleming and learning of the shortage. Each company donated the entire amount of coveralls they were able to locate, at no cost.
Bill Villano, owner of One Source Tool Supply stated, “When Legislator Fleming reached out to us to explain the situation at the LI Vets Home and the need for protective gear, we knew we had to help out the best we could. We are continuing to source for the protective coveralls that can be used by the frontline healthcare workers.”
Tracy Kappenberg, the controller of Riverhead Building Supply added, “Helping the community has always been a fundamental part of Riverhead Building Supply’s mission. Today, as we fight COVID-19, we are honored to help two very important groups—our Veterans and the healthcare workers that are caring for them.”
“During this crisis, the PPE need is ongoing until the medical suppliers can refill their stock,” explained Legislator Fleming, who is a member of the Veterans and Consumer Affairs Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature. “The protection of healthcare workers is critical as they provide essential care for our Long Island veterans. Residents of the Long Island State Veterans Home need and deserve hands-on specialized treatment, which is given by the dedicated and caring staff. After these individuals have served our country with honor, it is a privilege to be able to facilitate these generous donations to help during this crisis, and to contribute to ensuring that staff members are safe and supported as they undertake the extraordinary work of caring for those who have served us… I am so grateful for the generosity of these wonderful local businesses who were so willing to share these resources.”
“On behalf of my 650 employees, we are grateful to Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming for joining us in the fight against coronavirus COVID-19,” explained Fred Sganga, Executive Director of the LI State Veterans Home. “The PPE delivery will ensure the safety of frontline caregivers during this unprecedented event.”
For more information on donating supplies for the LI State Veterans Home and other critical frontline workers, please contact Legislator Fleming’s District Office at 631-852-8400.