Sherwin-Williams donates 1,500 N95 masks to Brecksville Fire Department ahead of building new company facility

by Jennifer Taggart  

Sherwin-Williams, which will open a research and development facility in Brecksville in 2023 at the earliest, recently donated 1,500 N95 masks to Brecksville firefighters and paramedics.  

The company’s 500,000-square-foot Brecksville location will be constructed at the upcoming site of Valor Acres,  east of Interstate 77 at the intersection of Miller and Brecksville roads.  But right now, that project is taking a back seat as Sherwin-Williams focuses on its COVID-19 response.  

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, spending related to the Sherwin-Williams new global headquarters [in downtown Cleveland] and new R&D center is paused near-term as the company focuses on the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities,” said Julie Young, vice president of global corporate communications at Sherwin-Williams. “The most critical planning activities for the project will continue, though at a slower pace.”  

The company made the donation to Brecksville’s first responders in late March. 

“Sherwin-Williams salutes Brecksville’s fire department, who remain committed to protecting and supporting their community during this health crisis,” Young said. “We’re pleased to donate protective masks at this challenging time, and we thank Mayor [Jerry] Hruby for his efforts in rapidly distributing this essential equipment to those with the greatest need.”  

Hruby connected Sherwin-Williams with Fire Chief Nick  Zamiska, who coordinates acquiring personal protective equipment for first responders in Brecksville.  

The fire department uses the N95 masks on all calls in which patients are suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms. As a precaution, first responders use surgical masks on all other calls.  

There are 41 personnel in the department, and five firefighters ride the paramedic ambulance per shift.  

“They are very, very valuable masks for us,” Zamiska  said. “In a time when a lot of people are struggling to get stock of them, we were able to get this generous donation from Sherwin-Williams, which really helped us.”  

The fire department has received donations, including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns, from over 20 local businesses and community groups. The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management also provided the department with assistance in acquiring necessary PPE to respond to COVID-19.  

In addition, volunteers from Brecksville’s Citizens Emergency Response Team have helped the fire department sew and repair over 520 old masks.  “We’ve been very fortunate to have received quite a few donations that have helped us keep our PPE in stock,” Zamiska said.

Feature image photo caption: From l-r, Sergio DeGeronimo, JJ Lecznar and Max Rapkin of the Brecksville Fire Department receive Sherwin-Williams’ donation of N95 masks.