“Instead of sitting on my hands, I thought the moment had come to do something, hoping that even such a little gesture can help us win the fight against the virus and see the light as soon as possible.” Gabriele Ortona, 50 years old, from Livorno, is an entrepreneur as well as a representative of the local Jewish Community. His company-Ortona Tensostrutture, founded in 1968–specializes in the construction of outdoor coverings. In this exceptional situation, he decided to switch the production for the manufacturing of protective masks for non-medical use. They produce 500 pieces a day and give them to the Civil Protection.
“We already head the premises to do it, both from the mechanical and from the safety point of view. I had the idea some days ago,” he says, “when I was talking to a friend from the Civil Protection. The workers are happy as well: there are work and no-layoff, and with our work we’re doing something valuable, giving a contribution to the fight against the spread of the infection. The hope is to soon get the necessary permits to make masks for medical staff”.
This effort also keeps distressing thoughts away. “It’s not nice to be alone, isolated. My children are in Milan, and my partner in Rome. Rolling up your sleeves and doing something can help you face these times. Especially if you can leave a mark,” says Ortona. The Civil Protection is not the only one to benefit from the masks of the company. “Some individuals have called us to buy a whole batch. I’ve never asked for money. I’ve only asked to donate to the Jewish Community in return. This body has given a lot to Livorno and its people”.
Translated by Rachele Ferin, student at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.