Staying Community Focused During COVID-19.
Like it has to many, many (many) people worldwide, the pandemic crisis has brought my own paying job to a halt. Working as a Mobile TV Broadcast Technician televising sporting events around the US, there is little call for my job when all events have been cancelled “until further notice,” and there are no live events to broadcast. I also have TebWeb Innovations, but with businesses temporarily shuttered, there’s not a lot of services to provide to them currently. I am able to do some work on my upcoming lighting product, the CL360 for 360 cameras, but the product development world also “on hold” until this pandemic loses its grip.
Having this extra time where I am staying close to home for an extended period, I can use my skills to help my local community. I have felt strongly about people supporting the place where they live. This is where people can have the biggest effect to change.
Doylestown, PA is a very close community. There has always been a strong sense of community spirit and involvement in this town from the beginning. Living here since the mid ’70’s, this has certainly rubbed off on me. Over the years I have become involved in many different civic and non-profit groups and causes. I have found that it is most satisfying to volunteer with skills I am most talented with. Video production and social media are those skills for me.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit the Doylestown community, it hit our many local businesses. It hit our large school system, it hit many residents, it hit our hospital. Doylestown is a tourist destination with many unique museums and a vibrant night scene for a small town. Most of it shut down. Through mostly social media, members of the community responded, and responded big.
One of the local Facebook Groups turned into a huge support network, with people helping people. A donation fund was setup to help local businesses shuttered. A “mask makers” group has made over 12,000 masks for residents and frontline health care workers. Food and supplies donated to needy families. Signs were made and posted around town to promote the spirit of community. It really was an amazing thing to see, as some of the photos show.
With all of my spare time home, and a strong sense of community, how could I help the cause? Found a few ways thus far. I can’t sew masks (at all), but I can use my 3D Printer to print mask ear savers to go with the masks. They prevent a term I’ve heard called “ear breakdown” from wearing masks all day. Myself along with other local 3D printer users printed lots of these which have been given out to various groups throughout the area. The design of the ear guards were created by a 12 year old Canadian Boy Scout to help his local healthcare workers. He has made the file public, and it is now being printed by 3D Printer users everywhere.
Another way I could help was doing what I loved doing–shooting and editing video projects. Through other civic groups I’m involved with, I get to work with Doylestown’s Mayor quite often, usually while doing other community videos documenting public events. During COVID, I have helped produce videos distributed on social media to keep the public informed about the local response to the virus.
Having a large and well equipped hospital system in town meant a closer look at what healthcare workers are experiencing. From a shooting perspective, it was challenging and a bit different to shoot while maintaining no contact social distancing. Typically in a single camera interview style, people are placed uncomfortably close together—not several feet apart! But it worked well, and provided a much viewed informative video from the perspective of the hospital.
I have mentioned my strong sense of community involvement, and giving back to the community. With all that goes on in the world, it seems futile to work on “changing the world.” But each of us have the power to change our community–where we live. It starts there. And if every community can change through support for one another–that’s a powerful thing. Doylestown being such a strong example of community support and involvement brings reference to a famous quote from renowned cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead.