COLUMBIA, S.C. — "I see it as a responsibility for me having a business in this community to help in times of need," says Hunter Mottel, leadership director of manufacturing at Sleep Number plant.
That's exactly what the Sleep Number manufacturing plant in Irmo is doing. The company volunteered its services after the South Carolina Hospital Association found over 100,000 N-95 masks that needed repairing.
"We are in the process of retrofitting the N-95 surgical masks. The problem with those masks is that over time the original elastic strap will degrade," says Mottel. "So, we are removing that strap and putting something in its place, which is a new piece of elastic that makes a mask wearable and usable by our health care professionals."
The company is dedicating sewing machines and team members to the project and says although they’re known for providing mattresses, their ultimate goal is to let people know they matter.
"Our healthcare professionals are in desperate need of PPE," says Mottel. "We thought we could improve their lives and as a result improve the lives in our community -- and that’s the most important thing."
Prisma Health will be one of the hospital groups to receive the masks, and they couldn’t be more thankful.
"I don’t think it can be overstated the impact this will have on our front line staff caring for all of our patients but also in protecting themselves," says Christopher Powell of Prisma Health. "And the ability to be able to have the community to help us right now is enormous."