They quickly stepped up to help produce gowns to keep our healthcare teams safe

John Fear, Employee

With the outbreak of COVID-19 across the world, it is difficult for hospitals to continue purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) through normal supply chains. There just isn’t enough supply to fill the tremendous increase in demand. One product we were significantly low on at Bronson was surgical gowns for our staff.

At the beginning of March, our team at Bronson Battle Creek worked hard to create our own gowns to fill the need. Shout out to Cheryl Knapp, Bronson chief quality officer, for creating a gown pattern, and to Justin Latulippe, environmental operations manager, and Tim Welch, endoscopy tech, who assembled a team of employees who worked together to sew 110 gowns! However, we knew that we were going to need more gowns than our internal team could produce. That’s when the team at Jacquart Fabric Products, parent company of Stormy Kromer, stepped up to help fulfill our needs.

I spent 10 years living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, less than 10 miles away from Stormy Kromer, so I knew about this company, located in Ironwood. I heard through the grape vine that they had to shut down normal production due to the pandemic, but had reopened to make masks and gowns for a healthcare system in Wisconsin. After talking with our leadership team, I reached out to Bob Jacquart, the company owner, to see if they would be willing to create 600 gowns for Bronson Battle Creek. After talking with his team, Bob let us know the team would be happy to work with us.

In less than a week, Stormy Kromer employees created and shipped us several sample gowns. We worked through alterations and placed an official order with them… not just for the originally requested 600 gowns, but for 6,000 gowns! This will help cover our needs at all four Bronson hospitals and Bronson Commons, our skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility.

Jacquart’s Fabric products, home of Stormy Kromer is producing 100 gowns every day for the Bronson system and shipping them to us. However, we have an employee at Bronson South Haven Hospital whose family member who has offered to fly up to Ironwood in his private plane to pick up gowns. This will save us the time and cost of shipments. What a tremendous act of kindness and selflessness within our own community!

Working with Bob Jacquart, Mike Begalle (production manager) and the entire Stormy Kromer team has been amazing. They are quick, accommodating and so professional! I am honored to be able to work with a Michigan company to fulfill the need for gowns for healthcare workers during this challenging time. Thank you, Jacquart Fabric Products and Stormy Kromer, for helping keep our Bronson Heroes safe during COVID-19!

#TogetherWeCare #BronsonPositivity

Stormy Kromer employees hard at work producing gowns for clinical staff at Bronson Healthcare.

John Fear holding up one of the gowns created by Stormy Kromer.