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Nebraska RD Staff’s Commitment to Community Shines Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Posted by Karl L. Elmshaeuser, USDA Rural Development State Director for Nebraska in Coronavirus Rural
Jul 29, 2021
Dave Fulton in front of the USDA Service Center
Dave Fulton’s commitment to public service extends beyond his day job as a Community Programs Specialist with USDA Rural Development. Photo courtesy of David Fulton.

One of the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most is the opportunity to see how committed RD Nebraska’s team is to its community. That commitment has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 crisis and I’d like to share two examples from our team.

Community Programs Specialist David Fulton has been serving his community as a volunteer firefighter more than 25 years. But when the pandemic came here to Nebraska, his service took on an extra level of urgency. The crew of firefighters with whom he serves took extensive steps to be safely prepared to help COVID-19 patients they encounter over the course of their duties. In addition, David is a member of the Buffalo County Community Partners who are helping people deal with medical and financial stresses that may have arisen during the pandemic.

State Engineer Marty Norton and his wife Lisa also used their free time to volunteer by helping to protect local healthcare workers from the COVID-19 virus.

Marty said that the local clinics were not able to get protective face masks because they were going to hospitals. To address this, Lisa assembled a team of eight fellow church members to make masks from cloth. She used a web video conferencing service to organize the effort and designed several prototypes before settling on masks made from cotton with a layer of felt on the inside, which her customers preferred.

Lisa and her team followed isolation protocols to distribute the masks with contact-free delivery. The beneficiaries include two nearby clinics and a local nurse. Marty says that his wife’s efforts encouraged him to contribute, too. He doesn’t sew, but he donated N95 masks to local medical and law enforcement professionals.

As long as their community needs their services, David, Marty, Lisa and her team will be sewing and serving their community the best ways they can. The humility and togetherness displayed by this team created a sense of normalcy as we all came together as one family to help those on the frontlines and beyond.

Nebraska Rural Development State Engineer Marty Norton
Nebraska Rural Development State Engineer Marty Norton and his wife Lisa have stepped up to support their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Category/Topic: Coronavirus Rural