(ROCKWALL, TX — May 18, 2020) Local resident Alfredo Balvanera recently provided 10,000 surgical face masks to Rockwall County.
Balvanera, a Mexico native of a Spanish family from Zaragoza, Spain who currently resides in Rockwall, and his co-partner Sabino Gutierrez run a clothing manufacturer in Mexico called Star Shirts, which produces polo shirts. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, their plant like many others in Mexico was ordered by the government to start producing PPE only, to help supply healthcare workers with the much-needed equipment.
Balvanera and Gutierrez’s factory was able to produce and sell millions of face masks, of which they gave away half a million to the indigenous populations there in Mexico.
After hearing about the shortage of PPE and face masks here in the United States, Balvanera wanted to give back to the place his current home of Rockwall. He brought over 10,000 sanitized, surgical polyester face masks to the Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management.
Balvanera said he wanted to donate the masks as a way to honor his father, Alfredo Balvanera, M.D., who passed away a year ago. Balvanera was a well-known cardiologist working in Mexico and Houston, Texas.
“He was an incredible father and doctor who never said no to any patient who didn’t have money,” Balvanera said. “He always took care of everybody, regardless of their economical capacity.”
Although his resources are limited, Balvanera said he will continue to donate masks wherever and whenever he can. He hopes to one day be able to provide half a million masks in the United States, as he did for the indigenous peoples in Mexico.
“I’m sure there is a need for us to bring over more masks for first responders and others who help in saving lives,” Balvanera said.
Story and photo by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.
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