On a Sunday in mid-March, Michael Lieber, president of Laminet Cover Company, received a text from his son’s classmate at the University of Chicago asking if he could create a plastic face shield. Initially Michael thought he would make the shield when he got into the office on Monday, but when the classmate asked for it that day and agreed to pick it up on an expressway off-ramp, Michael quickly understood the urgency. The classmate, whose wife was a medical professional, knew he needed protection and was terrified. “We’re going to be making armor for warriors in the war against this virus,” Michael told his company toolmaker, before asking him to streamline the creation of a tool that would allow them to make hundreds of plastic face shields at a record pace.
The next six weeks were filled with urgency and a realization the severity of the pandemic. After expediting the process, Laminet began producing and shipping face shields on a larger scale. Three days after receiving that text, the company produced 500 shields for the University of Chicago. Soon, they were supplementing the supply chain for nearly every major hospital group in the Chicagoland area. Michael remembers people calling him crying tears of joy upon hearing the news that he could provide them with more face shields. Michael and his coworkers were humbled and honored to be a part of the effort to keep front lines workers safe. In addition to producing face shields for healthcare workers, Laminet began donating shields to others in need, including 200 for the teachers and administrative staff at JCFS Chicago’s Knapp School & Yeshiva.
Michael understands the importance of giving back to organizations like JCFS that provide critical support to our community. His initial involvement with JCFS came through his long-time friendship with Larry Dobkin, a dedicated supporter of Response for Teens and the namesake of Response’s annual fundraiser, Tuned In: The Larry Dobkin Event. Michael and Larry went to law school together, and after Larry’s death, Michael made a commitment to support causes that Larry supported. Over time, Michael became committed to Response and JCFS and the local nature of their work. Michael believes it is crucial for the community’s health to have resources like those found at JCFS, resources that are available to anyone, regardless of identity, race, income, status, or perceived success. And if donating face shields is going to allow those resources to remain available and accessible, Michael is happy to do it.