Shields of Steele
A community effort led by employees of Federated Insurance continues its fight against the coronavirus.
As of early May, volunteers had manufactured 700 face shields.
Another 200 were made during May to bring the total to 900. Over the last three months, the volunteer group from Federated has donated nearly 2,000 shields, 500 fabric masks and over 5,000 ear savers.
Michael Beckman, systems developer at Federated in Owatonna, followed up on an e-mail from Federated's community relations department asking employees to reach out and partner with other organizations to provide safety shields first responders and medical staffs in Steele County.
Federated is working with other businesses in town to supply needed personal protective equipment. Those businesses include FoamCraft, Poly Plastics and Cindy's Tailoring and Dry Cleaning.
Melanie Gross of Federated's community relations department, last weekend delivered 50 face shields and 50 ear protectors to the Prairie Manor Care Center in Blooming Prairie.
The program now has a name, thanks to Allina Hospital employees. Allina employees were asked to suggest a name for the group that is coordinating the manufacture and distribution of pieces of personal protective equipment.
Over 15 names were suggested and the group of 30-plus volunteers voted on a name.
Shields of Steele was the winning a name proposed by Donna Kleeberger, a social worker at the hospital. She won a gift card from Applebee's.
Donations are always welcome, and can be sent to the Owatonna Area Business Development Center (memo line - Shields of Steele), says Melanie Gross of the IS Department.
Thus far, protective shields have been provided to:
• Allina Hospital, Owatonna
• Steele County Public Health
• South Central Human Relations Center
• City of Owatonna -- First Responders
• City of Blooming Prairie -- First Responders
Federated volunteers working on this project are reaching out to other towns in Steele County and will work on supplying them with shields and ear savers. Beckman said volunteers also plan to work on supplying shields to assisted living facilities.
Beckman said the Federated community relations department was first alerted to the community's needs by Allina Hospital in Owatonna.
"Once we took care of the medical community's needs," Beckman said it made sense to continue forward with our First Responders, and our most vulnerable community members in assisted living facilities said Beckman.
"After we met these needs, we want to focus on the essential businesses, and hope to provide help for businesses that require close contact in order to function," Beckman explained.
"Our work is far from over," Beckman said.
The manufacturing setup has been made possible by contacts of Beckman who have provided the use of 30 3D printers.