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Lifting Spirits During a Crisis

Updated: May 15, 2020

On April 30 healthcare employees from Delta County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) on the Western Slope of Colorado came together to spread positivity during the pandemic by sharing their Denver Bronco pride. Employees from each department dressed up in orange and blue to show a sense of resiliency and to keep spirits high as they continue tackling COVID-19 and keeping the rural community of Delta County safe.

“Our healthcare professionals work hard every day to serve and care for our community and we thought this was a great way to lift everyone’s spirits, have some fun and remind us that joy can still be found during this difficult time,” said Matt Heyn, DCMH CEO. “Not only was it a great morale boost for our entire staff, but it really illustrated what a supportive group of healthcare workers we have here on the Western Slope.”

Heroes of all kinds have emerged during this pandemic and have helped the DCMH staff and community members tackle the challenging impacts the pandemic has had on their rural community.

“These times can be really challenging for healthcare workers and essential workers all throughout Delta County, but having fun activities like the orange and blue day really helps to lift everyone’s spirits and gives us something to look forward to,” said Merri Brennecke, RN, BSN, MSN, DCMH Emergency Department Director. “Our community has really rallied behind us and it has meant the world to each and every one of us.”

The idea for an orange and blue day to lift the spirits of hospital workers started from a local donation of orange and blue face masks. ShadeScapes Americas is an international umbrella and furnishing company located in the small town of Hotchkiss, Colorado that donated Texsilk fabric for personal protective equipment (PPE) so that nearly every health care and essential worker in Delta County would have a face mask/covering.

In just four short weeks using fabric donated by ShadeScapes Americas, the Delta County Community MaskMaker Project began and created almost 3,000 ppe masks.

“The Community MaskMakers Project really started as a partnership between ShadeScapes Americas and the DCMH Foundation as a way to provide the needed fabric to volunteers who were willing to sew and match them with essential businesses requesting masks,” said Kaitlyn Jones, Executive Director for the DCMH Foundation. “It started with 700 masks being made for the DCMH system and more than 50 other health clinics, police departments, senior centers, and post offices that were requesting masks for their employees. The Texsilk fabric is also being donated to surrounding Western Slope counties including Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel.”

The masks were made by a hybrid collaboration of volunteers and Paonia and Montrose businesses. 27 volunteers from across Delta County produced 1,300.

Additionally, the DCMH Foundation utilized contributions to its COVID-19 Response Fund to commission three small businesses whose doors were closed due to the pandemic to make more than 1,400 masks as demand increased. Although the fight to win against the virus is far from over, the employees from DCMH are in it for the long haul and they will continue to fight to keep their community safe.

If you are interested in making a donation to the DCMH Foundation please visit You can also visit to learn more about how you can volunteer for the MaskMaker Project.

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