Working nonstop to help bring necessary medical supplies to combat COVID-19, the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation has partnered with Blok Industries to donate and deliver approximately 20,000 hazmat suits to the Navajo and Hopi Tribes. The Navajo Nation, which covers more than 27,000 square miles in New Mexico, northern Arizona and Utah, is third only to New York and New Jersey in the nation’s declared COVID-19 hot spots.
U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater’s granddaughter, Alison Goldwater Ross, founded the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation in 2017, to digitize, curate, restore and preserve Goldwater’s extensive collection of 15,000 negatives and 25 miles of historical images primarily of Arizona’s native people and landscapes. Upon learning the coronavirus was hitting the Hopi and Navajo tribes the hardest, Ross pivoted the focus of the Foundation and reached out to find resources for aid.
“We are determined to do everything in our power to help fight this scourge that is an indescribable tragedy,” says Ross. The Foundation has set up a special Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation relief fund to assist with its efforts.
The Foundation’s efforts have been made possible by Blok Industries, a safety and disaster relief supplier headquartered in Gainesville, Ga. Ross’s husband and legal counsel for Blok, Robert Arkin, connected her with Karen Davidson, Blok’s president. When Davidson learned of the reservation’s casualty count eclipsing that of states with much larger populations without a corresponding influx of aid, she sprang into action.
“I knew this was something we had to do,” Davidson says. “We at Blok couldn’t stand by knowing the urgent need when we could make the hazmat suits available immediately.”
Working quickly, the suits were transported from Blok’s warehouse in Mobile, Ala., for distribution to the Navajos and Hopis. The Foundation’s first stop was Gallup, NM, where suits were distributed to Navajo Area Indian Health Services (NAIHS) which serve five NAIHS hospitals.
Next, the Foundation’s team traveled to the Navajo Division of Public Safety in Window Rock, Ariz. to distribute the suits to police, correction officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
Hope MacDonald-LoneTree, former Navajo Nation presidential candidate, two-term Navajo Nation Councilwoman (ToNaneesDizi/Coalmine Canyon), and daughter of past Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald, worked directly with Ross and the Foundation team on the logistics of delivering the hazmat suits. Ross reached out to LoneTree because of the personal and professional history between Barry Goldwater and Peter MacDonald.
“As longtime friends, my grandfather and Peter MacDonald had a mutual respect for one another,” Ross comments. “Because of this relationship, Hope was the first person I reached out to.”
PHOTOS COURTESY THE BARRY & PEGGY GOLDWATER FOUNDATION