June 7, 2020

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Uplift: some bright spots in the midst of a pandemic

Yes, it has been awhile since I’ve done an Uplift column — and with these times I think we are all looking for something uplifting these days.

Not surprisingly, even in the midst of a pandemic — and likely because of it — there are many good things happening out there.

Free Press reporter and resident Uplift correspondent Kevin Rollason and his daughter, Sarah Rollason-MacAulay, wait in their car to be tested for COVID-19 after returning from Minneapolis with symptoms. Sarah, Kevin and the rest of the Rollason brood tested negative. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Files)

Free Press reporter and resident Uplift correspondent Kevin Rollason and his daughter, Sarah Rollason-MacAulay, wait in their car to be tested for COVID-19 after returning from Minneapolis with symptoms. Sarah, Kevin and the rest of the Rollason brood tested negative. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Files)

But where have I been? Well, if you are a regular reader of the Winnipeg Free Press you will know part of the story.

In short, I was off on vacation and went to the United States, before it seemed to be a problem, got sick there, and then had to isolate while waiting the results of the test for the COVID-19 virus.

Thankfully, the test proved negative for myself and other members of my family, but because we still had symptoms we were advised to continue to self isolate until they cleared up.

But then things changed yet again. My youngest daughter, who Free Press readers have met many times through the years as she lives through the challenges of her special needs and past medical surgeries, had her adult day programs close for the duration of the pandemic in an effort to keep some of the most vulnerable in our society safe.

All told, a few weeks have gone by. Thankfully I work at a job where I can write stories like this at home while looking after her.

Really, when I think about it, that’s uplifting for me.

Now let’s see what else would be uplifting for you to read.

— Kevin Rollason


Winnipeg company helps sick breathe

  • Winnipeg company Bomimed is the exclusive Canadian distributor and servicing support company for Swiss made Hamilton Medical ventilators, one of the leading manufacturers in the world of the medical devices which are in high demand for the patients who become very sick from the COVID 19 coronavirus. (Supplied)



Winnipeg Free Press 2020

    Winnipeg company Bomimed is the exclusive Canadian distributor and servicing support company for Swiss made Hamilton Medical ventilators, one of the leading manufacturers in the world of the medical devices which are in high demand for the patients who become very sick from the COVID 19 coronavirus. (Supplied) Winnipeg Free Press 2020

    Tucked in Fort Garry, there’s a company you have never heard of called Bomimed helping make something the world needs right now — ventilators.

    The company is the exclusive Canadian distributor for Swiss-based Hamilton Medical — and also manufactures the hoses and breathing circuitry the devices need to operate. Free Press business writer Martin Cash found that while it had a pandemic plan it is still overwhelmed with the demand.

    Owner David Olivier said his 75 staff are working long hours to keep up with demand for the ventilators while also scrambling to also produce hoses and other components for the anesthesia equipment it also distributes.

    “I have never imagined anything like this happening in my lifetime,” Olivier said.

Friendly Manitobans find way to help

  • Manitobans have always been a people who want to do what they can to help their neighbour — and that's no different in a pandemic.

    Now the provincial government will help link the people who want to help with those who need that assistance through a new website. Premier Brian Pallister said on Monday that he website, called helpnextdoormb.ca, will make it easier for people to find the people willing to deliver groceries - and help those people sign up to volunteer.

    A local non-profit, North Forge Technology Exchange, was able to create the website in just five days.

    "This new online tool captures the spirit of our province, where Manitobans in communities across our province can always be counted on to step up to assist others who need help, especially in times of need," Pallister said in a statement.

    "(It) puts people all over the province, who need assistance, easily in contact with those nearby - while adhering to social distancing protocols - who want to help them."

Looking for takeout?

  • Zhehing Wen, who just opened Poke Mono this month, saw his dream-turned-nightmare turn into a dream again, as a Free Press story about his plight sparked such an upsurge in take-out orders, he's sometimes running out of ingredients. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Zhehing Wen, who just opened Poke Mono this month, saw his dream-turned-nightmare turn into a dream again, as a Free Press story about his plight sparked such an upsurge in take-out orders, he's sometimes running out of ingredients. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

    One restaurant owner found out how fast a dream can turn into a nightmare before becoming a dream again.

    Zhehing Wen’s dream, since he was 18, was to open his own restaurant. He finally did it earlier this month, opening Poke Mono on Edmonton Street — smack in the middle of a pandemic.

    But after telling his staff he couldn’t afford to pay them — who of course had to leave — a Free Press story by Ben Waldman chronicling his predicament has helped him.

    Now, sparked by the article, so many customers have since been ordering takeout food that he actually began running out of ingredients at one point.

    "I believe we can make it," Wen said.

You didn't stand in this senior's way

  • Roslyn Silver was a woman who didn't let much get in her way. Here, she's flying an ultralight aircraft for her 90th birthday. (Supplied)

    Roslyn Silver was a woman who didn't let much get in her way. Here, she's flying an ultralight aircraft for her 90th birthday. (Supplied)

    Roslyn Silver was feisty during her more than 98 years of life.

    Silver, who was profiled by Danielle Da Silva in A Life's Story in a recent Passages section, wrote numerous letters to the editor through the years, played extreme sports, and returned to school as an adult - all while daring anyone to try and stop her.

    "She would complain if she saw something that was unjust," Silver's daughter, Rochelle Gamliel, said.

    "She wouldn't compromise on her principles."

Cowboy tweeter

  • Who knew that during these stressful times that people on social media needed the chief of security of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in the United States?

    With the rise of COVID-19, and the shuttering of the museum for now, Tim Send, their security head, was recruited to also take over their social media account and the results have been both humorous and wholesome as he figures out Twitter - and promoting the museum - as he goes along.

    In one tweet, Send shows a photo of two artifacts, a hat and eye patch, on exhibit from John Wayne's movie True Grit and writes "I'm told I can't try it on. Hashtag John Wayne. Lucas, my grandson, told me to use hashtags", instead of using the ubiquitous # for hashtag.

    In a later tweet, Send writes "Realize I've been doing the hashtags wrong. I need to use that pound sign from the phone. I'm learning!... #HashtagJohnWayne" To see more of Send's tweets, go to @ncwhm on Twitter.

Your weekly squee

A couple of Amish children look out the window of a horse-drawn cart during a rainy day ride along Old Philadelphia Pike in Gordonville, Pa.(Jose F. Morenp/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

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