CENTRAL POINT, Ore--- On Thursday, the Oregon National Guard and Oregon State University Research and Extention Center assisted the Oregon Department of Agriculture in handing out personal protective equipment to local farmers.
This is part of a directive from Governor Kate Brown to hand out around one million KN-95 facemasks and 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to farmers and ranchers because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Central Point, things got started early.
"We were supposed to start at 9 am, but at 8:25 we had a line of cars, about a dozen cars out to the highway," said SOREC director Richard Roseberg. "Each vehicle typically represents a farm operation. So, most of the trucks that have come through, each vehicle, we have been handing out anywhere from two hundred to four hundred facemasks."
The local farmers receiving the facemasks were grateful for the equipment coming in.
"Oh, I was really happy," said Chickadee Farm owner Kelly Gelino. "It is just reassuring to be able to keep protecting ourselves. Especially now that it is opening up. We are just wanting to know what is going to happen in the future and wanting to be safe in the meantime."
One stereotype that Roseberg brought up, is that farming is a job where social distancing is easy. However, he says that a lot of people are employed by farms and really need protective equipment. Gelino echoed the same message.
"We are relying on people so much, just like other industries too. Nobody on our crew, we don't want anybody to get sick. For them, for our business," said Gelino.