As 50+ new COVID-19 cases were counted in our county, just today, and with a nationwide shortage of protective masks and shields, Georgia Southwestern State University’s athletics department has teamed with TSG Resolute to add to the company’s production of shields.
Mike Leeder, Athletics Director, explained the project’s simple beginning: “Governor Kemp tweeted about TSG Resolute making these shields then all of a sudden they (TSG) got bombarded with orders from hospitals. TSG Resolute (Reagan Barksdale, owner) in conversation with our president, Dr. Weaver, thought it would be a great opportunity to have the coaches pitch in.”
“Usually, our role is to educate and to prepare people for the workforce, but during this crazy time, we are still a state agency, and the state needs us to do something else,” said Dr. Weaver, president of GSW. “We have a local business that can help solve a problem, and we can help solve the problem, so it seems like a good partnership. We are still delivering our main objective, education, just doing it in a different way. We are glad to do it!”
According to Nicki Levering, Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Women’s Softball Coach, materials to make the shields are dropped off in the morning by TSG Resolute. Once the finished product reaches 10,000, TSG will come back to pick them up. The production of these shields is in addition to shields still produced at the TSG Resolute facility, also here in Sumter County. “The coaches and a few students are working four-hour shifts, some at night, trying to keep it safe,” said Levering.
“We are trying to make about ten-thousand of these per day, and this is day one,” said Leeder. “We’re kinda going round-the-clock as coaches are available, as they are still teaching some classes. We are going around their schedule, trying to get groups of about three or four, doing a sort of assembly line.”
Plastic (pieces), foam, and bands all makeup the protection and one-by-one; each is carefully collected and counted to reach the 10,000 mark for today’s pickup.
Rusty Warner, Executive Director for the Sumter County Development Authority, stated, “Sumter County volunteers once again answer the call for our beloved hospital! It’s a pleasure to be able to live and work in this community.”