Waukegan organization pays it forward by donating masks to first responders

The Waukegan-based Urban Muslim Minority Alliance paid it forward Monday, donating hundreds of professional grade KN95 masks to first responders and other front-line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We use masks on every single call, and if we run into someone who is displaying the symptoms, we throw the mask away and grab a new one." said Brian Henderson, a firefighter/paramedic for the North Chicago Fire Department.

Other recipients included the Waukegan Fire Department, the Lakemoor Police Department and the Eddie Washington Center in Waukegan, which provides transitional housing for homeless men in Lake County.

"Our donors have blessed us with more personal protective equipment than we need, and we would like to pay it forward," Urban Muslim Minority Alliance Executive Director Robert Montgomery said in the announcement of the donations. "These are trying times, and we appreciate the hard work and personal sacrifice of all our local essential workers, and we would like to do our part in making sure they're taken care of. We know that this donation is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the huge need, but for now, it's all we have."

  The Waukegan-based Urban Muslim Minority Alliance donated hundreds of professional grade masks Monday to first responders and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Welsh/
  Hamaas Ibrahim, board president at the Urban Muslim Minority Alliance in Waukegan, sorts through boxes of KN95 masks Monday before they were donated to the North Chicago Fire Department and other fire and police departments in the area. Mark Welsh/
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