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Boise in solidarity: Members of the Basque club collaborate with Idaho Fighting COVID


First step in the operation at the Basque Center in Boise: Reception of the "dirty material.” Mikel Sangroniz is behind
First step in the operation at the Basque Center in Boise: Reception of the "dirty material.” Mikel Sangroniz is behind


We are reproducing an article here that was published in Boise’s Euzkaldunak Basque club’s May newsletter regarding the role that a group of its members, along with the entity itself have been playing in the face of the current health emergency caused by COVID-19.  People like James Sangroniz (father) and his children Amaia and Mikel who are collaborating with the Idaho Fighting COVID initiative. Eskerrik asko to them and everyone who has collaborated in this example of solidarity.

Boise, ID, USA. Early on it was identified that the lack of PPE supplies was critical to combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Euzkaldunak members James, Amaia and Mikel Sangroniz as well as other community members have taken inspiration and direction from a BSU initiative and a similar effort in Huntsville, Alabama.

To help with the COVID-19 pandemic at the local level, they recruited a group "of nerdy guys with 3D printers at home" to produce face shields and mask bands that relieve pressure on the ears of medical workers wearing face masks.

The biggest bottleneck in providing this PPE to responders in need would be to disinfect and package the material for delivery. As the Basque Center space would be under-utilized during the pandemic closure and that the space would be ideal for this effort, James approached the Euzkaldunak Board about utilizing the Center, and was greeted with open arms.

Martin Bilbao, Ed Orbea, Mike Franzoia, Julian Lete, and Patty Gabica jumped in to set the team up with equipment and supplies so that in a matter of days they had set up a disinfection and packaging process that meets CDC standards for eliminating all pathogens including the virus that causes COVID-19.

With the space available in the Basque Center, the team dedicated the basement to a "clean room" for disinfecting, and the upstairs to initial intake and initial cleaning. In this way dirty and clean product doesn't even share the same air.

Additionally small crews of workers have plenty of room to maintain social distance while executing the process, keeping each other safe. In the past 2 weeks, the Idaho Fighting Covid team have processed over 1000 face shields and 1000 ear savers.

They are providing material to local hospitals, medical clinics, and agencies including St. Lukes, the VA, and United Way. They will continue this process until commercial supplies of this PPE can catch up to the demand. Euzkaldunak is proud to be a community partner of Idaho Fighting COVID,

And the rest of Basques and Basque communities worlwide is proud of Euzkaldunak. Eutsi goiari!

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