Heroes Don’t Wear Capes

Heroes don’t wear capes, they wear scrubs, business suits, dresses, overalls, khakis and blue jeans.

As the COVID-19 virus moves across the world and spreads in the Grand Traverse region, I am witnessing our community rising with heart, determination and collaboration to meet this immense challenge.

As a member of the Munson Healthcare Board of Directors, I know how much the pandemic is taxing our community’s health system. Healthcare workers and first responders require personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate masks, ventilators, hand sanitizer, and other needed equipment have become a focal point with global demand now greater than global supply.

On behalf of Munson Healthcare, we are grateful for the support and willingness of so many individuals and businesses throughout our community who have stepped up and lent a helping hand, especially with the PPE shortage. Here are some of the amazing examples of local support to date:

  • Iron Fish Distillery, Short’s Brewing Company and Mammoth Distilling have started making hand sanitizer that can be used in the health system. Iron Fish reports that their efforts also involved the collaboration of Watson Benzie, which provided vehicles to transport critical materials, and Northwoods Soda & Syrup Co., which donated hundreds of gallon containers to put the sanitizer in.
  • TentCraft responded quickly to the need for a facility to test people showing symptoms of the disease in a way that protects both health care workers and other patients. They constructed and erected a drive-through tent that is currently in use at the Foster Family Community Health Center. Communities across the country are scrambling to set up mobile medical screening locations. The technical details and logistics involved are unprecedented. SampleServe is teaming up with TentCraft to offer simple and quick technical solutions to accomplish mobile screening.
  • Britten Banners developed a shield protector for use in grocery stores, banks, etc.
  • Hagerty Insurance donated masks and worked to contact local restorers and do-it-yourself auto enthusiasts to donate masks they had.
  • Northwestern Michigan College’s Nursing and Dental Assistant departments donated several masks.
  • Dentists have donated masks and supplies.
  • Farmers & individuals have provided food for COVID-19 screeners, emergency department, and urgent care staff.
  • Local grocery stores are on the front line feeding our community, constantly restocking store shelves and refereeing fights over toilet paper.
  • Skilled Manufacturing Inc. is manufacturing components for ventilators that may save the lives of thousands of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All area media have been extremely helpful in conveying important messages about social distancing, hospitals measures to care for patients and contain the disease, and have provided forums for questions and answers about the disease.
  • American Waste seamlessly provides outstanding service with increased loads. Prompt garbage collection is vital for protecting the health and safety of our community.
  • Traverse City Downtown Development Association (DDA) has compiled a list of all the downtown retail outlets that remain open, with their current hours and special offerings. In addition, they are providing “bonus” DDA gift certificates to support the retailers.


As a career banker, I am overwhelmed by the late hours and the enormous effort of all the area banks and credit unions to assist the people in our community with obtaining relief funds from the SBA and U.S. Treasury through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Check with the SBA www.sba.gov/funding-programs  or simply check your bank’s website for the PPP loan application form.

By the time this article goes to print, the list of heroes will multiply beyond the number of pages in this issue. I apologize that each person and business can’t be recognized, but I know you are not helping for recognition. Each and every one of you knows what needs to be done and you JUST DO IT!

What does this say about the character of our region? It shows that people are willing to look beyond themselves and their own needs to help others. This community has responded in an overwhelming and heartwarming way! So many talented people are willing to aid strangers in every possible way. We are fortunate to live in a strong, selfless and passionate community.

In addition to all those mentioned above, our greatest heroes are our doctors, nurses, first responders, EMTs and hospital staff who risk becoming infected themselves and who risk infecting their own families. They are making extraordinary sacrifices to care for the rest of us. Our prayers are with all of you and your families. May God bless you and keep you well. We are holding you all close to our hearts.

Munson Healthcare is extremely grateful for all of the support it has received. Please continue the support of local efforts to combat this pandemic. Learn more at www.munsonhealthcare.org and click on the “How You Can Help” portion of the COVID-19 banner.

A CPA and banker, Connie Deneweth is a developer and managing member of Copper Ridge; a former board member and vice chair of Munson Healthcare; current chairperson of the Munson Healthcare Audit Committee; co-chair of the Grand Traverse Area Catholic School capital campaign; and a board member of the Cherryland Cares Foundation and the Oleson Foundation. She is also a business development consultant at Independent Bank. She was the community bank president of Republic Bank from 1992-2000 and CEO/director of Traverse City State Bank from 2009-2018.