MARCUS HOOK, Penn. (CNN) — Some unsung heroes of the pandemic are finally able to get some rest after working 28 days straight.
These are not healthcare workers — they are the factory workers who make the much needed PPE supplies for hospitals.
In a time when there may not be as much to celebrate, these essential workers at Braskem America in Marcus Hook are relishing every second of this particular moment — clocking out for the first time in 28 days.
“There’s been a glow in everyone’s eyes today, I’ll say,” shift supervisor Joe Boyce.
More than 40 workers unanimously decided to leave their families, agreeing to eat, sleep and live at the facility where they make equipment for healthcare workers. The team worked 12-hour shifts.
TV and the occasional drive-by from family members were the only outside contact they’ve had.
“We’re truly honored to be able to give back and support people we will never meet in some way,” Boyce said.
Boyce says the group was split among two shifts to make polypropylene, a non-woven fiber used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes.
To a degree, this moment is bittersweet, Boyce said. The team is realizing the world around them has significantly changed in the past month.
“We’ve almost been the lucky ones, I’ll say, for the last 28 days because I haven’t had to stand six feet from somebody. I haven’t had to put a mask on,” Boyce said.
But it’s a small price to pay knowing that work they’ve all put forth is making a difference in the battle against COVID-19.
“The first responders, all the people on the frontlines, we thank you for what you’ve done. That’s what makes our job easy to do,” Boyce said.
The workers will get an entire week off before returning to a normal shift. Everyone involved will be receiving a raise.