Indiana Private-Public Partnership Collect, Distribute Medical Supplies For COVID-19 Response

Mike Krauser
March 26, 2020 - 2:38 pm
Steve Scheckel (right) and volunteer Patrick Murray

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A public-private partnership formed to respond to disasters, the Northwest Indiana Information Sharing and Security Alliance, or NISSA, has set up a distribution operation at the Gary Airport, collecting in-demand medical supplies and moving them to where they’re needed.

Munster Police Chief Steve Scheckel, the President of NISSA, is overseeing the operation, collecting and distributing supplies like masks, gloves, face-shields and other personal protective equipment. 

“The private sector has been just stellar.  They’ve brought us everything they had,” he said during an interview in the terminal at the airport, where members and volunteers have been assisting with the collection and distribution efforts.

The building trades are helping, he said, getting supplies from contractors and private industry.  

From there they go where needed, including hospitals, first-responders, nursing homes, and dialyses centers in five counties. 

“We’re very overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and people willing to even try to make masks out of nothing to help everybody get through this crisis," Scheckel said.

Scheckel said some smaller medical facilities have had the biggest problems.

“We’re getting things to them just in time, where they were either out or were critically low," he said.

NISSA is supporting medical facilities and first-responders in a large area.

“It’s five counties, so its Lake County, Porter County, LaPorte County, Jasper and Newton County. We’re covering a big footprint,” Schekel said. 

NISSA is working in conjunction with District 1 Task Force Incident Management Team, a response Task Force from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.