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WAYNE — Brandon Dennison, founder and CEO of Coalfield Development Corp. in Wayne, says while the organization has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic it is still finding ways to protect its companies’ workers and still help out the community.

“To protect our workers’ health and prevent the spread of the virus, we have shut down our normal operations,” Dennison said. “However, we’re using smaller crews — working at least six feet apart — to help our community deal with the crisis.”

Dennison said the organization’s sustainable agriculture company, Refresh Appalachia, is shifting to a fresh-food mobile pick-up model to keep healthy food available.

“Our woodshop, Saw’s Edge, is designing and prototyping emergency beds in case of overflow needs at local hospitals,” he said.

The T-shirt company, SustainU, along with its director Dylan Smith and staff, are currently sewing masks for health-care workers and donating its extra inventory of clothing to local hospitals.

“With an incredible amount of support from Coalfield, our staff has had the ability to brainstorm and come up with a perfect use of our fabric,” Smith said. “Our very own Stephen Schrock has been working tirelessly to manufacture as many homemade surgical masks as possible. We certainly didn’t expect to be manufacturing surgical masks out of recycled fabric a few weeks ago, but couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to help our community.”

Smith called the opportunity a “no-brainer.”

“As a social enterprise of Coalfield Development, we knew using our materials and abilities to assist in any way possible was a top priority during these trying times,” he said.

“These are but small measures to help, but they signal the kinds of resilient businesses our modern crisis-ridden world will need if it is to thrive in these uncertain times,” Dennison said.

COVID-19 has placed immense pressure on the organization, Dennison added.

“The most important thing is that we stay safe and healthy, but there’s no denying this is tough on business,” he said. “All sales and contracts have ground to a halt. The stock market declines make future funding from grants uncertain. Nonetheless, we will tap our Appalachian courage, creativity and community to innovate a path forward.”

Dennison says thanks to the Stand Together Foundation, they have a special opportunity to raise funds for the purpose of keeping communities strong in the face of this immense health and economic challenge.

“Every dollar you donate to us goes toward keeping our crew members engaged and employed,” he said. “We appreciate your partnership, and sincerely thank you for your generosity.”

Mail donations to Coalfield Development, P.O. Box 1133, Wayne, WV 25570 or call 304-501-4755 to donate by phone.

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