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Convention Center staff creates, donates 50 protective masks to Vicksburg Fire Department

When it comes to our community, those first responders who serve on the front lines of our public safety and public health are our superheroes. It’s only fitting they now have masks depicting superheroes.

Thursday, the staff at the Vicksburg Convention Center donated 50 masks, made to the specifications laid out by the Centers for Disease Control, to the Vicksburg Fire Department to be used by emergency medical personnel as they respond to a scene.

Not only do the masks meet standards laid out by the CDC, they are reusable and help further support the department’s precious medical supplies inventory.

In all, the staff at the convention center created 50 masks, using designs of many of the superheroes from DC Comics.

“They’re non-disposable so after their use, they will be washed and reused. Obviously they are not as good as an N95 particulate mask, but in some instances they will provide a barrier and safety for the responders,” Vicksburg Fire Department Deputy Chief Trey Martin said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff that is on back order. Until that stuff arrives, or until this COVID-19 virus threat ends, this will help us get over that hump.”

Martin said the outreach by the employees at the Vicksburg Convention Center was tremendously appreciated.

“I thought that it is awesome that our community comes together in a time of need,” Martin said. “They are here when supplies are low and in high demand. It was awesome.”

Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said the convention center staff’s project is just another example to his team of how much the community truly appreciates the work of the fire department.

“When the public gives the department a big ‘ole hug, or does something for us, we are very grateful. I think this was a very thoughtful and needed item for personal safety,” Danczyk said. “I thank [Vicksburg Convention Center Executive Director] Annette Kirklin and her staff, it put a smile on my face. And I think it also, with our employees, they’re in the trenches, this is kind of a feel-good moment when you know the people appreciate what you are doing.”

As for Kirklin, the project was the perfect way for her team to remain viable to the community it serves during a time when business at the convention center is significantly slowed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus and ongoing construction and upgrade work to the convention center itself.

“In talking with VenuWorks, our parent company, they challenged us to see what we could do, in each of our facilities, to be viable to our community. With that said, we energized the team and this is the project they came up with,” Kirklin said.

Kirklin said she reached out to Danczyk before moving forward to make sure the department could use the masks.

“They’ve had an assembly line going and were excited about doing this for our community that we love a lot,” Kirklin said. “I could not be more proud. My heart just swells with pride about how hard they have all worked this week and with smiles on their faces.”

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