HeroGuards is the creation of Clint Smith and fellow volunteer Augusta Ayer, of Lexington and Wenham, Massachusetts, respectively. Together with HeroGuards Volunteers they are helping combat the scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers in the Greater Boston area by supplying the likes of the Lahey Hospital in Burlington MA, the Jewish Health Care Center (a nursing home) of Worcester MA, the Queen Anne Nursing Home and Southwood (also a nursing home), both in Norwell MA, Blueberry Hill Nursing Home and CareOne at Essex Park (a nursing home), both in Beverly MA, and and other health care institutions, with supplemental protective gear for health care workers that normally has a different use: to protect fishermen, sailors, or anyone who braves the elements in a marine setting. Think golfing, hiking and sailing slickers, foul weather gear, and the like; those little plastic pouches that you take along "just in case."
HeroGuards volunteers go from one sporting goods store to another, and also online, searching the WEB, buying inventory of light weight slickers and foul weather gear, and personally distributing it directly to nursing homes and hospitals. Such gear can often cost as little as a dollar each for ultra light-weight clear plastic ponchos and rain suits. These items might otherwise go unsold this year due to the reduction in sporting activities caused by the pandemic.
A nurse, doctor or orderly can don rain gear donated by HeroGuards volunteers on top of, or instead of, their "over-used" hospital gowns to extend the useful life of their PPE, and increase their person sense of security. If they are lacking PPE altogether, they can use our gear when their supply closets are empty.
This creative effort is a response to the continuing lack of “official” PPE which cannot be produced fast enough by normal means (factories), or distributed efficiently enough to meet the demands placed on health organizations by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing homes in particular tend to find themselves outside of the supply chain loops for such gear.
Getting HeroGuards up and running has not been an easy task. Appeals to local politicians, and organizations like FEMA led nowhere (officials talking to officials). Setting up a 501(c)(3) organization normally takes many month, even sometimes up to a year. However, a local charitable organization, the Essex County Community Foundation ("ECCF"), an already qualified 501(c)(3), opened their doors, allowing contributors to HeroGuards to channel their charitable donations to HeroGuards through that organization's web site and still obtain the benefit of tax deductibility.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, HeroGuards volunteers can foresee an additional inevitable nationwide need for supplemental reserve protective gear outside of the healthcare field, but for more of our heroes just the same: for poll workers at voting locations. Poll workers tend to be older than the general population and will need all of the reassuring protection they can obtain, or be given. HeroGuards volunteers hope to address that need as well, on the local and national scale. But time is running short.