April 21, 2020
By Lynn Burkhead
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe, many in the outdoors industry are stepping up and doing what they can to help preserve life and health, even if it means reaching into their own pocketbooks.
That includes Johnny Morris, the founder of the Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops, who is personally donating one million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders manning the front lines of America’s battle against the disease.
Morris, whose Bass Pro Shops brand is the primary sponsor of Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour, wanted to do what he can to help those on the front lines of America’s battle against the surging outbreak.In doing so, he is partnering with Rusty Sellars, CEO of True Timber camouflage, a Bass Pro Shops partner, to source the masks through True Timber’s apparel and fabric suppliers.
"We are extremely grateful to our nation's healthcare workers serving on the frontlines of this unprecedented global health crisis," Morris said in a BPS news release. "These heroic men and women continue to dedicate their lives to save the loved ones of others, and we are all honored to support them on behalf of everyone at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, and the communities we serve."
To distribute the masks, Morris is partnering once again with Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Mo., faith-based and non-profit humanitarian group that he has worked with for more than 20 years. According to the news release, Convoy of Hope seeks to help feed the world's children through feeding initiatives, provide community outreach efforts, and give aid and relief during disaster responses.
Already, Morris and Convoy of Hope have partnered in the past to raise funds and lead relief efforts in the wake of destructive Category 4 Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017 and in the Bahamas last year after the destructive rampage of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.
The first effort saw Morris donate more than 100 boats for high-water rescues in the Houston area and along the Texas Gulf Coast, while efforts last year included more than $4 million being raised for disaster relief in the Bahamas. Morris also spearheaded the "Christmas in the Bahamas" effort last December to help spread some holiday cheer in the island nation.
Now, the two Springfield partners are turning their attention to the U.S. as the coronavirus outbreak surges. With critical medical supplies like protective masks running in short supply in the hardest hit areas, healthcare workers and first responders are having to search for protective gear as they race to save lives.
In every community across the nation where one of Morris’ properties is in operation, he and Convoy of Hope will partner up to distribute the masks based on an area's needs and current demands. At present, there are more than 200 communities across the U.S. with retail stores, marine dealerships, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities operating under the Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and White River Marine Group brand names.
"The generosity of Johnny Morris will make a significant impact in the battle against coronavirus across North America,"Convoy of Hope spokesman Jeff Nene said in the news release. "At a time when our healthcare workers are being pushed to the limit physically and emotionally, we’re grateful for partners like Johnny and his incredible team of outfitters who continue to place a priority on giving back and helping our medical professionals safely perform their live-saving duties."