Ace Wood Flooring donates masks to first responders

Ace Wood Flooring donates masks to first responders

Police from Smithfield, North Providence, and Woonsocket arrived at Ace Wood Flooring last week to collect donated safety masks for first responders. From left are Tim Greene of the Woonsocket Police Department, Renee Coletta, Troy Hewes, and Wendy Hewes of Ace Wood Flooring, Dennis Stone with the North Providence Police Department and Jackie Pilatti of the Smithfield Police Department. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SMITHFIELD – Ace Wood Flooring in Smithfield has donated 5,000 of its extra respiratory masks to first responders and people in need.

Troy Hewes of Ace Wood Flooring, 375 Putnam Pike, said the company’s slogan is always to answer the call. When Gov. Gina Raimondo requested that all businesses and individuals with medical gear donate it to those in need, Hewes responded.

“The governor made a call and asked for masks and we answered,” he said.

Hewes put out the call to fire and police departments in Smithfield, and extended the invitation to nearby departments when he realized how great the need is. Others came directly to the store for masks to protect their family members from the coronavirus.

From 3:30 p.m. last Friday until 4:30 p.m. last Saturday, Hewes and Ace donated more than 67 boxes of masks. Unfortunately, the masks could not be given to local hospitals due to sourcing restrictions.

“I asked them, how many do you need?” Hewes said.

He said when he thinks about community, he thinks about his hometown of Smithfield, including pharmacists at Stop & Shop. He said for him, giving is the best feeling in the world, and seeing the relief on recipients’ faces makes the donation worth it.

Last Saturday Hewes and store associates handed out the last of their year’s supply of masks to Smithfield, Woonsocket, and North Providence police officers.

“They need them today,” he said.

Hewes said the masks are used in flooring to protect workers from small particles when sanding wood. He said he’ll pick up more masks in a few months when everything calms down. His employees have what they need for now, he said.

He said he is not looking for anything in return for the donation.

Smithfield Police Officer Jackie Pilatti said the department is grateful for any help. She said any officer responding to a call is vulnerable to the coronavirus, and the masks are an excellent defense for patrol officers.

North Providence Police Officer Dennis Stone agreed with Pilatti, saying supplies are meager and will be depleted by the end of the week. There were not enough masks for every member of the department.

“We needed this. This will get us through,” Stone said.