To do its part in the fight against the coronavirus, NIB associated nonprofit agency Bosma Enterprises is continuing its long tradition of supplying medical gloves and other supplies to aid hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which are among those at the forefront in battling COVID-19.
Established in Indianapolis in 1915, Bosma is Indiana’s only comprehensive provider of rehabilitation and training services for people who are blind, and the state’s largest employer of people who are blind.
For the past 20 years, it has been a leader in providing medical gloves to the VA, shipping well over a half-billion gloves each year.
“To accommodate the VA, we are working with our glove suppliers, shifting staff, reallocating resources and moving up shipments to meet as much demand as possible,” explains Jeffrey Mittman, Bosma’s president and chief executive officer.
A U.S. Army veteran who himself was injured and ultimately lost his eyesight, Mittman was helped during his initial recovery by many of the same products that Bosma provides today.
Acknowledging that increased production is critical to assist the VA and also maintain steady employment for his employees, the majority of whom are blind or visually impaired, Mittman emphasized that protecting Bosma staff members from COVID-19 is foremost on his mind.
To ensure their well-being, he says, the agency is making every effort to fully comply with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as with those issued by state and county health departments.
In addition, about half of Bosma’s employment force of 200 people are teleworking, and those who come in to produce medical products wear gloves, gowns, and masks. Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout the facility and social distancing is strictly adhered to, with workstations spaced six feet apart.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” Mittman says. “They haven’t missed a beat and every day are giving it their best effort to help their fellow Americans who are engaged in the battle of a lifetime against this awful virus.”
Among them is John Rowland who supplies the exam glove line with raw materials and checks the quality of final products before they are sent to customers.
Rowland’s eyesight was damaged by a treatment he received as a premature infant. As he got older, his vision worsened until he could no longer perform the job he had held for 21 years. In 2010, Bosma gave him a chance to work again and he has been employed there ever since.
Rowland appreciates Bosma’s vote of confidence in him and says that he couldn’t be happier to step up and supply healthcare workers at the VA with the personal protective equipment they need.
Acknowledging that it can be hard to remain positive with all of the negative news and the difficulties of social distancing, Rowland says remaining focused on his work helps him stay positive.
“I remember the good that we’re doing across the country.”