Helping the helpers: How employees supported health care workers fighting COVID-19
In Spring 2020, health care workers found themselves on the front lines of an unexpected battle against a global pandemic.
Whether they were working to educate their communities, screening people for COVID-19, or treating those who were sick, nurses, doctors and other medical workers confronted risk, stress and long, difficult hours as they did their part in response to the virus.
For people like Rob Bosart, who found himself stuck at home as a result of city, county or state orders, it was difficult to watch examples of courage and sacrifice without a feeling of helplessness.
Bosart, a financial advisor in RBC Wealth Management's Bloomfield Hills, Michigan branch, does business with a number of emergency physicians in southeastern Michigan, which for a time was one of the largest COVID-19 hotspots in the country. Through conversations with his clients, Bosart knew doctors in that part of the state were overwhelmed with the conditions they were facing.
“They were doing everything they could to stay safe, and then going home to their spouse or their young children," Bosart says. “It just broke my heart."
And so Bosart, like many other RBC Wealth Management employees throughout the country, found a way to help.
Helping acquire medical supplies
In discussions with his clients, Bosart was told that the biggest need in the Michigan hospitals was for more personal protective equipment (PPE) or ventilators. Asking around, he learned a separate client in the automotive industry had an inventory of KN-95 facemasks. Bosart purchased 1,700 masks for $3,100, and had the masks delivered to the Michigan hospital association in early June.
“I can't go into the hospitals and help out on the front line, but I can at least help in this way," Bosart says.
That's also how Heather Krause felt in Seattle, Washington. Krause, a financial advisor and assistant director of the firm's Seattle branch, heard from several doctor friends that they were running low on PPE and needed any supplies that people could get their hands on.
Krause and her husband, who previously worked in the manufacturing and chemical industries, respectively, made numerous calls to track down leads.
"We reached out to everyone we know," Krause says.
After connecting with a company that manufactures industrial safety products, Krause and her husband ordered several filters and respirators for $2,500 and shipped them directly to the hospital where their friends worked.
"Our health care workers need to be protected," Krause says. "We wanted to do what we could to help."
Jericho, New York employees deliver meals to the local Winthrop Hospital's Urgent Care facility in Mineola, New York.
Feeding the front lines
Beyond those individual efforts, RBC Wealth Management offices in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas arranged to have meals delivered to hospitals or clinics, often accompanied by notes of thanks.
One meal might be a fairly small gesture, says Aaron Gabrielian, director of the firm's Easton, Maryland branch, but it's the least employees could do for the people who've put their lives on the line fighting COVID-19.
"I think it's extremely important to take care of the people who take care of us," Gabrielian says. "No matter how big or small your community is, small acts of kindness will ultimately make where you live a better place."
Employees in Easton, Maryland prepare to deliver food to local medical workers.
RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.