The impact the Stillwater community has on people has resonated internationally.
Stillwater’s Chinese residents, as well as former Oklahoma State University scholars who have since returned to China, have come together to help Stillwater combat the novel coronavirus.
Monday, nearly 10,000 disposable face masks were donated to Stillwater during what is a global pandemic. The Stillwater Medical Center received 7,200 face masks, while the Stillwater Police Department received 2,400. The donation was made possible by a combined effort between Stillwater’s Chinese community, the OSU Chinese Faculty & Staff Association and the Stillwater Chinese Baptist Church.
Guoliang “Edward” Fan, Chair of the Stillwater Chinese Baptist Church and a professor in the OSU School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has lived in Stillwater for 19 years. He said the donation Monday was the second given to the hospital, as 200 N95 face masks were collected from local Chinese residents and donated to SMC on March 26.
The masks donated Monday came from scholars in China who had studied at OSU in the past, kickstarting a donation drive in a short period of time.
“I reached out to a group of scholars back in China near my hometown,” Fan said. “I shared what our needs were here, and about 30 people mobilized and started fundraising locally there. They raised about $4,000 in less than a week, and they purchased the masks one week ago and they were delivered to Stillwater on Monday. They knew we really need this, so 9,600 masks were sent to us.”
After starting with 30 people, the number grew to 50 scholars who participated in the donation.
Without knowing what the final cost would be, some of the organizers paid for them up front. Although many of the scholars had only spent a year or less in Stillwater, their time spent here was so strong that the donation happened so fast. The medical face masks were purchased and sent to Stillwater in less than a week.
“I think I talked to about four of them. They all miss their time in Stillwater,” Fan said. “Stillwater gave them a lot of great memories. They also have made a lot of new friends in Stillwater, and when I talk to them, they always say Stillwater has a very special place in their heart. They didn’t spend a lot of time here, maybe one year, but our town and the people of our community, really gave them a great memory and impression here. So that makes Stillwater a place that they care about a lot, and they take action quickly, so they just care about us.”
With the need for medical face masks being of utmost importance for local medical facilities, there has been a GoFundMe campaign started by Stillwater’s Chinese residents to raise $25,000. The money will be used to purchase medical supplies for SMC and area facilities. The fund has raised $3,390 since it was started March 25.
“I know a lot of people are helping right now, and we want to be a part of that,” Fan said. “We just want to make sure it’s an opportunity for everyone who cares about Stillwater … either people who live here full-term, longterm, it doesn’t matter. We really care about this place, and it’s time to make some differences.”