Maryland business owners donate 14,000 masks to the state

PASADENA, Md. (WMAR/CNN) - People all over the nation are doing what they can to help one another during the coronavirus pandemic, contributing in small ways and large.

The Department of Health was glad to hear from them. They were so happy, they showed up the next morning to pick them up. (Source: WMAR/CNN)

In Maryland, a business is donating 14,000 N95 respirators to the state to help fight the spread of the virus.

The donation came from a stockpile of masks that one of the owners amassed in a previous initiative to help others.

About 10 years ago, Rick Levin, co-owner of Pasadena Boat Works, was doing some volunteer work at the cancer center at Johns Hopkins where he met a young girl named Makenzie Stuck. Makenzie told him the worst part about having cancer was wearing the mask.

So, Rick designed a mask that would be "fun" for kids.

“There are covers, peel and stick covers, that go over the N95 respirator,” said Levin. “They enhance it, they dress it up and they make fighting germs fun.”

They originally ordered about 20,000 of them and were mostly giving them away to children hospitals. The project was just about forgotten as Levin moved on to new ones, leaving 14,000 masks in storage.

Recently, Levin’s partner, Nick Doetsch, suggested they donate them to the state during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Health was glad to hear from them. They were so happy, they showed up the next morning to pick them up.

"They were very happy we had (them),” Doetsch said. “I mean not too many people are going to have obviously that many masks in storage."

They were so happy in fact they showed up the next morning.

Unfortunately, the little girl who started it all, Makenzie, passed away but, her spirit is still very much alive.

"I think she would be ecstatic today if she knew her name sake is on a product that is helping people right now,” Levin said. “Because I really believe that's what Makenzie was about."

Makenzie's family says they're proud her name is on an altruistic project such as this.

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