BOZEMAN — Many in the community know Simms as a local manufacturer of fishing apparel and equipment.
In just a few short weeks, the facility totally changed the way it operates all to help those fighting on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak.
It started off with the need for personal protective equipment as the coronavirus made its way to Gallatin County.
So Bozeman Health reached out to Simms Fishing Products to see if they could lend a hand.
“We aren’t faced with these challenges often,” said Rebecca Williamson, chief planning officer of incident command.
“For them to make something for us that we feel like there was a lot of labor and love that went into it is pretty awesome.” said Fred Dennis, senior director of merchandising and Materials at Simms.
Simms is now manufacturing high quality, CDC-approved reusable gowns for healthcare professionals fighting the virus.
“Our factory is closed. Making waders is not essential. But making gowns is essential. And so Governor Bullock has given us the green light to make these gowns whether it's for Bozeman Health or any other customers around Montana,” said Dennis
Bozeman Health says the effort was made possible by numerous people in the community.
From the financial support of the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation and the Arthur M. Blank Family foundation, as well as employees at Simms stepping up during the stay at home directive.
Bozeman City Commissioner Terry Cunningham also played a role in getting the project started.
"This is an example of the community pulling together in a time of crisis and I couldn't be more proud," said Cunningham.
“The sense of urgency from the medical community is so great that for us to be able to fulfill their needs is one of our proudest moments,” said Dennis.
The CEO of Bozeman Health says that sense of pride is felt by healthcare workers as well.
“Watching our teams in action, caring compassionately for those that they serve on a daily basis, but knowing that there is this badge of local pride that they’re wearing is spectacular,” said John Hill, President and CEO of Bozeman Health.
Simms Fishing Products is set to continue making gowns for the foreseeable future.
“To be able to see people come together and do their very best to put us in a safe and protected stance so that we can handle the pandemic is really just pretty awesome,” said Williamson.