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Gowntown | Our Part In The Fight

Nestled in the heights of Hood River, Oregon at the base of Mount Hood sits a 3500 square foot warehouse. Rolls of Tyvek, cutting tables, sewing machines, and sergers sit carefully placed at a safe distance. The building has an uncanny silence except for the ripple of Tyvek sheets and the muffled sounds of masked workers.

Rob Fusilli hard at work | Photo: Zahne Calzada

A team, comprised almost entirely of kayakers, works diligently, manufacturing hundreds of medical gowns daily. Mere weeks ago, this team of school teachers, business owners, river guides, bike mechanics, and chefs could not have imagined they would be working in unison, hunched over tables amongst the whiz of machines.

John Weld in his natural habitat 

If there is one thing we know how to do at IR, it is build a garment from the ground up. Therefore it was a natural fit to refocus our efforts towards making medical gowns that were in such short supply at our local hospitals.

Ian Wingert IR repairman extraordinaire sports a cheeky smile

A masked Kara Weld | Photo: Zahne Calzada

Gowntown came together quickly, thanks to the hard work of HMB50 and the generosity of its donors. The team at Gowntown hit the ground running to fulfill the dire need for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Columbia River Gorge.

Trevor 'Big Man' Sheehan gets a breath of fresh air | Photo: Zahne Calzada

Justin Teague attaches safety ties

When the team completes the gowns, they each go through a rigorous quality check and are then passed off to HMB50, who then donate them to the Hood River County health department. The health department determines which hospital or facility gets the gowns based on the greatest need.

Wyatt Hyndman tells John to pick up the pace 

Dave Wells folds and packs completed medical gowns 

In these challenging times, it has been heartwarming to see so many of our industry partners rise to the occasion by shifting gears to produce PPE for their local communities. We would also like to extend a special thanks to all the medical professionals who put themselves at risk day in and day out for the greater good of their fellow humans. Their bravery and commitment is truly inspiring and brings genuine meaning to the phrase “we are all in this together.”

Packed and folded gowns ready for medical facilities 

Matthew Swanson local White Salmon Doctor & kayaker sports Gowntowns beautiful work 

Local physicians model their medical gowns and guns

Additionally, we would also like to send a special thank you to our team that keeps Gowntown operating daily. Thanks to Ian Wingert, Wyatt Hyndman, Trevor 'Big Man' Sheehan, Rob Fusilli, Dave Wells, Justin Teague, Brendan Von Zabuesnig and Jesse Lee McKenzie. Your hard work is much appreciated.

To learn more about HMB50 or donate to their effort, go to their website. There you can find more details about the gowns and answers to FAQs. 

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