Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Yell County man building COVID Shields to reunite families

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YELL COUNTY, Ark. – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise rapidly, it becomes tougher to keep the virus away from our most vulnerable.  The challenge for nursing homes is how to keep residents safe, but allow family members to visit their loved ones. One Yell County business owner is migrating from his nine to five job to help reunite families during the pandemic.

From the waterfowl stuffed and mounted on the walls to what’s used to hunt it sitting on the shelf, that’s what you’d typically find in Maverick Dunn’s shop.

“We slowed down a little bit. Obviously when the shutdown happened in April,” Dunn said.

Just as ducks fly south for the winter, Dunn shifted his focus from these calls as another idea took flight.

“We have a small family. It’s my brother, my mom and my grandma basically so we laugh and say we have a family reunion once a week, you know, but if we couldn’t do that, it would be hard on all of us,” Dunn said.

Dunn and his team built one of these plexiglass booths and delivered it to a nursing home in Danville.

“So first it had three plexiglass walls on each side and a curtain across the back, and we have an intercom system in it also, so people can hear inside and out,” Dunn said.

It was such a success, they started getting calls from across the state of Arkansas.

“I think we’re up to 46 of them,” Dunn said.

As time has gone on, they’ve added some upgrades along the way.

“We started putting a roof on them, and this piece of plywood here. Actually, during the summertime, will cut a hole in there and actually put an air conditioner unit in there,” Dunn said.

With duck season right around the corner, Dunn will have to fly back home to his day job. He says seeing how this simple idea reunites families after months of separation will keep his shop running.

“So that was kind of what triggered us to really keep this going and try to get him to as many people that needed them as possible,” Dunn said.

Dunn and his team have even delivered booths to Oklahoma. The one they built today is heading to Rogers this weekend.

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