JACKSON, Wyo. — Ten thousand KN95 masks were delivered to healthcare professionals and first responders yesterday morning.
The masks were a donation from Roadhouse Brewing founder Colby Cox. They arrived on a truck from Bozeman, Montana Wednesday night, driven by Teton County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Hodges.
“[Hodges] drove up there four and a half hours each way to bring these back. He’s a hero,” Cox said.
A team of volunteers from Fine Dining Restaurant Group and the Teton County Sheriff’s Office assembled at the Teton County Search and Rescue Hanger yesterday morning to deliver the masks. Their first stop? St. John’s Health with 5,000 masks.
KN95 masks are effectively identical to N95 masks, Cox said, and were approved for medical use by the FDA two weeks ago. Cox got his hands on 10,000 of them thanks to a connection through the Young Presidents’ Association (YPO), a group he’s been a part of for 10 years now. Sean Gallinger, a cohort with business connections in China, told Cox he could order “a bunch” of masks.
“Put me down for 10,000,” Cox told him. “That’s all I could afford at the time.” At $4.50 a piece, that’s a $45,000 donation split between Roadhouse, Fine Dining Restaurant Group, and Convergence Investments. YPO Jackson also offered $10,000 to help.
“I had the opportunity, and I took it,” Cox said.
St. John’s Health was the priority recipient. Of the 5,000 remainings, a couple thousand were divided between the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, and the Jackson Police Department. The Community Foundation got roughly 1,000. The remaining 500 were donated to the Fort Washakie community on the Wind River Reservation.
“As leaders and businesses, we’ve never been the type to sit back and watch things unfold, we believe in being proactive in the face of uncertainty” said Fine Dining Director of Communications Kendra Alessandro. “Securing these masks and donating to local entities was just one of the ways we were striving to take a frightening reality and make real impact on our community’s response.”
Gallinger’s relationship with the mask manufacturer is ongoing, and Cox said he could order thousands more masks at a moment’s notice.
“These are all gifts, but if the state is interested I could probably get up to 100,000 masks within the next 10 days,” Cox said. Cox has been in contact with Governor Mark Gordon’s office and sits on the Governor’s task COVID-19 force. The state is currently assessing the state-wide need.
About The Author
Buckrail @ Shannon
Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter pursuing a master's in journalism at Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.
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