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Helping People: It’s What Independent HME Providers Do

Posted on in People Helping People

Beyond Pink in North Sioux City, South Dakota, and Pennyrile Home Medical in Kentucky are both a substantial distance from hurricane-ravaged areas of Texas, but distance didn’t stop either company from stepping up to help their brethren providers in need.

Both companies shipped numerous boxes of ostomy supplies to Angel Medical Supply in Houston, whose Mark Gowin volunteered to act as quartermaster, receiving donated products from all over the country then distributing those goods to providers whose inventory was lost or damaged as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

After both hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Pennyrile owner David Chesnut, who serves as president of the Kentucky Medical Equipment Suppliers Association (KMESA), reached out to the directors of the Florida and Texas state associations, asking if there was anything KMESA could do to help. He discovered that providers in those states were in fairly decent shape.

“A lot of (providers) there had pretty good disaster plans,” said Chesnut. “They did a tremendous job in responding to those disasters. Companies helped each other out; it says a lot about them and speaks well about our industry.”

He then learned of the call for donations from VGM’s People Helping People website, which instructed members to forward donated supplies to Angel Medical. Chesnut and his staff shipped 250 boxes of ostomy, colostomy, and urostomy supplies. The gesture was a bit of a payback.

“Our area (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) was hit nine years ago by a massive ice storm,” explained Chesnut, “(The storm) basically laid most of our trees and power lines out. Our store didn’t have power for seven days. Other companies offered to help us. We’ve always been willing to help other companies out. It’s a good thing for us to do and a good thing for all of our industry to do.”

Diane Meland, owner of Beyond Pink, acquired her business two years ago and opened in June 2016. Her father died from colon cancer in April 2017, leaving Diane with much ostomy supplies.

“I didn’t know what to do with all the supplied I had,” said Meland. Then she received an email from Essentially Women, a division of VGM serving providers who cater to mastectomy and women’s health, asking for donations for hurricane victims. “I felt I needed to send something that someone really needed. I emailed Nikki (Jensen, vice president of Essentially Women) and asked if anything was being done to donate for the hurricane victims.”

Jensen directed Meland to the People Helping People website. Meland and her Beyond Pink staff shipped more than 100 ostomy supplies to Angel Medical.

“I just believe you give back,” said Meland. “I feel very fortunate to be able to give to people who need. I feel if, someday, if I need help, there would be someone there to help me.”

To show your support to independent HME providers affected by the recent hurricanes, request supplies or donate, visit www.vgmgroup.com/disaster-relief or call 844-416-1411.