Brooke Raymond has found a silver lining during this pandemic by finding ways to help.
“I graduated from Trinity in 1990 and currently live in New York City, near Central Park and Lincoln Center (where this photo was taken). I work as a law librarian and my daily life has definitely changed due to COVID-19. I now log in to our system remotely and work entirely from home. I do miss going into the office and seeing friends and colleagues.
The silver lining on this very dark pandemic cloud is that I’ve been back in touch with several of my Trinity classmates who are working on the front lines as medical professionals. My friend John Wood, an American expat living in Hong Kong, felt shock and outrage upon learning of hospital employees expected to work without adequate PPE (personal protective equipment). John Wood’s original charitable venture was founding Room to Read, a successful charity which builds schools and libraries in developing nations. In the face of recent global challenges, John parlayed his extensive philanthropic network to fund an informal response to the medical mask deficit and named it Operation Mask-Lift.
John and his wife Amy, along with several volunteers around the world, of which I am a part, have sourced KN95 medical masks from China, flown them to Hong Kong and then distributed them via a central hub in Chicago for farther-flung destinations. So far, we’ve delivered 250,000 masks to Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maryland, Louisiana, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York City, the hardest hit area. Internationally, we’ve delivered KN95 masks to Spain, Milan and Malaysia. This was accomplished at no cost whatsoever to the recipients. I’ve personally been in touch with three classmates, Carolyn Moloney, David Weinstein and Mike Pangan who are medical doctors taking care of very sick patients. Sara Lang ’90 put me in touch with several rural hospitals in New Hampshire that also appreciated our help.
Operation Mask-Lift is steadily gaining visibility and momentum. CNN reported how U.S. Customs and the FDA reversed course earlier this month, allowing KN95 masks to serve as a suitable alternative to N95 masks. This eliminated a sizable bottleneck which had delayed getting our masks to hospital employees on the front lines.
I am delighted to be able to serve our deserving communities in some small way. I’ve learned so many lessons during this period of reflection—that all we have is today and that there are no guarantees. I really have slowed down to enjoy the beauty and magnificence that is nature. Being able to walk one block to Central Park with a healthy heart and clear lungs, to see birds fluttering and to admire beautiful spring flowers really does enrich me at a soul level. I feel very blessed indeed.”
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Brooke Raymond '90
I really have slowed down to enjoy the beauty and magnificence that is nature. Being able to walk one block to Central Park with a healthy heart and clear lungs, to see birds fluttering and to admire beautiful spring flowers really does enrich me at a soul level. I feel very blessed indeed."