Sharing the Good: Community Support Across the Commonwealth

Virginians help their communities through talent and ingenuity.

Photo courtesy Riverside Health System.

Thinking Outside the Box
Mechanical engineer builds intubation boxes for Riverside Health System, helping protect healthcare workers from COVID-19. 

Ask Dave Kashy and he’ll tell you all he wanted to do during this pandemic was put his skills and knowledge to use and help protect healthcare workers. It’s a cause close to his heart, because his daughter and son-in-law both work in the medical field. But as a mechanical engineer with Jefferson Lab in Newport News, what could he do? Turns out, a lot.

Donating his time and talent, Kashy worked closely with Riverside Hospitals to design and construct intubation boxes for healthcare workers across the health system to enhance their protection against contracting novel coronavirus COVID-19.

“Placing a patient on a ventilator requires a physician to place a tube into a patient’s windpipe down to the lungs,” says Dr. Gary Kavit of Riverside Emergency Medicine. “This is an extremely risky procedure during this time of a viral pandemic.” Intubation causes the air in the environment to become contaminated with aerosolized virus particles, Kavit said. The intubation box, which is made of clear polycarbonate panels, gives physicians visibility and access during the procedure while also helping to block the projection of virus particles from the patient.

“Even though we wear high-level personal protective equipment during the procedure, gross contamination of this equipment increases the risk to medical providers,” Kavit says. “The intubation boxes provide a much-desired additional level of protection against direct spread of droplets onto the provider’s PPE and self.”

Intubation boxes such as those Kashy built for Riverside are being distributed across the country to emergency departments, intensive care units, and operating rooms. “Dave Kashy’s initiative to collaborate with Riverside to bring an extra level of safety to our staff is profoundly appreciated,” Kavit says. RiversideOnline.com


Graphic by Mary Fleming.

Aiding Artists 
CultureWorks launches COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund. 

In times of crisis, artists are often among those most affected. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect the Commonwealth’s cultural landscape, many performers have been left with few options to show their work and generate an income. 

To ease this burden, CultureWorks, a nonprofit that inspires, enables, and cultivates the cultural life in the greater Richmond area, has launched the COVID-19 Arts and Culture Relief Fund. The goal is to provide financial assistance to professional artists of all disciplines, who have lost income from cancelled, paid opportunities during the pandemic. The fund is designed to help compensate for work lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to help with basic living expenses during the crisis. 

A coalition of arts and culture partners, including VisArts, 1708 Gallery, Afrikana Independent Film Festival, and others, invites professional artists in the Richmond and Tri-City area to apply for this $500 grant. As of last week, CultureWorks has been able to directly support 40 individual artists with grant awards totaling $20,000, although the volume of applications has grown to require triple the amount of funding currently available. 

Applications may be submitted online or over the phone at (804) 353-0094. RichmondCultureWorks.org


“Support Alexandria Restaurants!”
Mayor-turned-influencer promotes local eateries on Twitter.  

The mayor of Alexandria is using his Twitter platform of more than 4,700 followers to support the local restaurant industry—by documenting every time he gets takeout for his family. It’s turned Justin Wilson into a social media influencer of some sort.

Northern Virginia is the Commonwealth’s coronavirus hot spot, and restaurants in Alexandria’s historic Old Town are struggling to stay afloat under Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order, currently set to expire June 10, which limits them to takeout and delivery. 

Earlier this month, Wilson started tweeting images from his takeout tours through his city, from cocktails to-go and Brussels sprout appetizers from Captain Gregory’s speakeasy, to takeout pizza at Lost Dog Cafe and a carryout carton of frozen custard from the Dairy Godmother. “In addition to the policy work that I’m doing, I’m also trying to do the work of promoting [restaurants] and showing people all that’s out there,” Wilson told D.C.’s Eater magazine.

“It’s tough to see people in pain,” Wilson added. “The number of folks I’m talking to who have lost their jobs, and can’t pay their rent, and can’t pay for basic expenses. I think that’s definitely been the most challenging part is to see folks who are really hurting. We are a prosperous city, we have done very well in recent years, and that’s what makes this so jarring.” 

Wilson has picked up hundreds of Twitter followers since he started hyping his meals online. In his most recent food related post, he vowed to share meals with his family. “One of the four of us will eat leftover spaghetti from last night’s trip to Atlantis … three of us will be having yummy sushi from Momo’s in Old Town and custard from @DairyGodmother. Support Alexandra Restaurants!”  


Massanutten Resort is sending out a breath of mountain air in its weekly Wellness videos.

Massanutten Moment
Shenandoah resort makes wellness available online.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, fitness studios, spas, and resorts around the Commonwealth have shut. The sudden shift has inspired creativity and flexibility for gyms and studios—including the all-season Massanutten Resort, which has started releasing special videos led by its Wellness Committee. The videos, released every weekday afternoon on Massanutten’s YouTube, IGTV, and Facebook pages, bring the fresh mountain air of the Shenandoah Valley to people’s devices in the form of easy virtual wellness experiences.

“With many of us sheltering in place, we saw a need for positive, value-focused content to provide an escape from the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic,” says Sarah Elson, the resort’s director of business relations. “Our talented Wellness Committee and resort staff inspire viewers each week with activities meant to brighten people’s days and keep them moving.”

Each 15 to 20-minute segment will guide viewers through different activities to enjoy their “Massanutten Moment,” such as yoga, exercise, crafts, and cooking for all ages. Viewers can expect to see everyone from the resort’s spa manager to the executive chef in the videos. MassResort.com


Courtesy of Primland.

Good Deeds
Primland supports local community.

Since the end of March, Primland, the luxury boutique resort in Meadows of Dan, has been providing free food for the community each week. Ryan De Rieux, the resort’s executive sous chef, is leading an operation that delivers 200 lunches (and breakfasts for the next day) to two neighboring schools each Monday. “Most of our team comes from the local communities; we’ve always been committed to uplifting our area and its people,” says Primland’s vice president, Steve Helms.  

The resort has also launched an effort to support their staff, many of whom have been furloughed during the statewide effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. To date, the online Primland Cares auction has raised $62,000 for the employee relief fund. 

While providing support, Primland, which has again been nominated as one of the world’s top hotels in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2020, is following all recommended guidelines and procedures from the CDC and Gov. Ralph Northam. Says Helms, a Patrick County High School graduate who was born and raised in Meadows of Dan, “People need to know they are not forgotten; it’s important that we do as much as we can while doing it safely.” Primland.com 

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