April 1, 2020
Thousands of critically needed face shields are being made at a candle company in Milford after the company was able to switch its production in seven days.
Alene Candles is producing the face shields for medical workers.
"My fiancée works in the medical field and so does most of her family, so this is my way of giving back a little bit," said worker Josh Rowsey.
The company shut down production in the third week of March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We wanted to use our resources for part of the greater good," said company President Rod Harl. "We pretty quickly narrowed in on the assembly of face shields as something we could turn on in under a week and be producing out of our New Hampshire facility."
A Maine plastics company donated the plastic, so the first run of the safety equipment is earmarked for Biddeford, Maine, emergency workers.
"We'll also make them available to EMS workers in Milford and surrounding communities, as well as a hospital system in Nashua and a visiting nurse association in Concord," Harl said.
Harl said the company got the design for the shields online.
"We downloaded a design from Johns Hopkins University," he said. "It was an open-sourced face shield design."
Alene Candles employs about 200 people. Twenty are back on the line.
"The face shields are a nice way of giving back to hospitals that are at a loss right now," said worker Chase Laventure. "It's definitely nice to be doing this for a good cause."
The workers are at the facility voluntarily. The company is paying all its furloughed workers full wages.