In the midst of a global pandemic, the order has come in and Quality Industries of Versailles is preparing to meet it.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the order has come in and Quality Industries of Versailles is preparing to meet it.

The organization, a sheltered workshop and one of a few around the Lake area who employ people with mental and physical disabilities, attaches pieces of plastic to the straps that eventually become respirator masks. Those masks, like the N95 used by healthcare professionals as personal protective equipment (PPE), are in critically high demand to protect healthcare workers as they fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Quality Industries had a quota of 40,000 a month and starting in April, the new quota will be 50,000 a month. That demand could possibly increase as well as time goes on as the company sees how much it can be capable of producing in that time frame.

“They are all on board, especially with helping out. If they think they are doing some good for the community or different places, they are all on board,” Quality Industries Manager Kenda Fergerson said. “They enjoy the work very much and are proud of what they do.”

Employees currently have a week off as the work environment is being sanitized to ensure the safety of employees who will come back and pick up the slack. Fergerson noted the company has also received quite a few calls from people offering help, but the company cannot allow anyone else to come in right now who is not already working there as part of the safety measure which also includes ensuring the safety of the product.

In a time where many businesses have been forced to temporarily close down, send employees home or scale back operations, essential businesses keep the cogs of society moving. And if there is anything that can be deemed an essential business, assembling the pieces that eventually become respirator masks for healthcare workers on the front lines is certainly it.

“We feel we are trying to do our part. The workers at the shop are proud of what they do and making an impact on what they can help with,” Fergerson said.