News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Operation Inspire steps up to help

When St. Charles Health System put out a call for 10,000 masks to protect medical personnel as the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up, Wes Fisher of Credit Associates in Bend answered.

“One of the people who works for me… they own a garment business here in town,” Fisher told The Nugget. “I hooked up with them to do 2,000 masks.”

The masks are cut and sewn to meet St. Charles’ specs.

Luan Pham, chief revenue and marketing officer for Laird Superfood in Sisters knows Fisher and he got wind of the project — and Laird jumped in with a commitment to produce an additional 2,000 masks.

In addition, Laird Superfood — which specializes in all-natural performance-enhancing food products — also donated their Instafuel and coconut water hydration products to the emergency room staff at the hospital. The first round of donations was delivered last Thursday.

Operation Inspire was underway.

“It just kind of grew from there,” Fisher said. “It got traction.”

Fisher has set up a hotline at his business (541-312-9176) where businesses or individuals interested in contributing to the operation can be connected with recipients.

“If they call, I can pretty much send them in the right direction immediately,” Fisher said.

He noted that he has been in close communication with St. Charles CEO Joe Sluka; Joe Marchiando, senior vice president of improvement and strategy at St. Charles; and St. Charles public information officer Lisa Goodman.

Fisher also noted that one key need is for individuals to volunteer to cut out materials for masks to the specs provided by St. Charles, “which is a time-consuming part of the manufacturing process.”

Those willing to take on that task should contact Fisher through the hotline.

Pham noted that EDCO representatives Capi Lewis and Elise Rossman have been key players in connecting businesses with community needs.

“They are working with a lot of local businesses who have pivoted their businesses to help meet these needs,” Pham said.

He said that he “can’t say enough about EDCO” and their “effort to keep this community together and helping businesses just stay alive.”


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