Internet sales might have helped fetch a hefty payday, but Paul Kellett decided the cost to humanity outweighed potential profit when he decided to donate face masks to local emergency services organizations.
The local realtor spent most of Monday making stops across Adams County, providing 1,100 N95 surgical masks to doctors, police officers and in-home visitation staff for the Typical Life Corporation.
“This is the time to stand up and share instead of hoard,” Kellett said. “People out there risking their lives every day deserve protection and this is something I could do to help.”
Kellett purchased the masks roughly eight months ago during a bankruptcy auction after a factory closed down, he said.
He hoped to use the masks for remodeling work for his company, Community Benefits Real Estate.
After reading of shortages across the country, he reached out to a doctor he knew at the WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital to see where they could best be put to use.
Kellett met with hospital staff outdoors on Monday for a quick exchange, gifting seven and a half boxes, an estimated 700 masks. Similar masks on E-bay are currently selling on average near $7.
The N95 masks have higher quality filters than are needed for the jobs Kellett performs, he said.
“It’s overkill for what I need so I was happy to give them up,” he said. “Who knows if I’ll need a respirator in a few weeks. If there aren’t doctors to operate the machine, I’ll be in trouble. If I have to go to the hardware store in a few months from now, that’s alright.”
A realtor and landlord in Gettysburg, Kellett has faced business disruption since Gov. Tom Wolf shut down all but life-sustaining businesses across the state. All construction and real estate operations are closed. State lawmakers are currently working on legislation that would limit evictions and provide some relief to renters.
“Everything is on hold but that’s what happens in a situation like this,” he said. “It’s not a time to think about what’s best for ourselves. It’s time to think about what’s best for our community.”
On Thursday, WellSpan provided a list of medical-grade supplies needed in the community: N95, surgical or fluid shield masks; goggles and safety glasses; gloves; disposable or isolation gowns; hand sanitizer; and bleach or sani-wipes.
To offer support, people are encouraged to visit www.Wellspan.org/Coronavirus/I-Want-To-Help or call the coronavirus information hotline, 1-855-581-3641, and select option 4 or direct inquiries by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future donations should be arranged in advance. The time and location for supply transfer will be arranged after the online form is received.
Retired clinicians wishing to volunteer can complete a form on the website. Unskilled volunteers and food donations will not currently be accepted, according to the site.
Financial gifts will also be accepted at the website.