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‘Helping the people that are helping us:’ Racine rallies to make PPE for first responders, health care workers

Data pix.
Lt. James Evans

Lt. James Evans

RACINE -- A Racine County sheriff's deputy wanted to help his community, just as many of us did when we grew up. What happened next has mobilized a community to help their own.

Lt. James Evans thought the PPE shortage would eventually come to Racine, so he did what any son would do -- text his mom for help with an idea -- a gown made from Tyvek-like material.

"Later that day...well, correction, within 10 minutes, she shot me a picture back and says, 'Here's what it looks like,' and had made one," Evans said.

Sew 'n Save

Sew 'n Save

Jim Deibler

Jim Deibler

He sent that prototype to Sew 'n Save of Racine. There, owner Jim Deibler gave the green light.

With his store closed, Deibler began making kits, cutting the material into a gown with four straps and calling on volunteers to sew them together.

"We put out an email that we needed help actually putting these together, putting together the kits that we had cut out," said Deibler.

The result? His phones have been ringing nonstop with callers looking to help -- either preparing the kits or sewing them together and bringing them back.

Sew 'n Save of Racine making PPE kits

Jim Deibler

Jim Deibler

"I'm hoping this just makes a little bit of a difference in helping people not get sick and helping the people that are helping us to stay healthy," Deibler said.

Evans and the sheriff's office pick the gowns up, take them to their facilities to be sanitized and deliver them to health care providers and first responders.

"We want to do everything we can for those first responders and those that are on the front lines to fight this virus," said Evans.

What started as an idea is now providing life-saving equipment to the men and women who are working to do just that.

Teams at the Racine County Jail and Ellsworth Correctional Center are also among those volunteering. Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said the inmates actually enjoy being able to help during the COVOD-19 pandemic.

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