When Tezera Ketema began his shoe-making business 30 years ago, he never imagined a global pandemic would lead to him needing emergency care for an injury he got while manufacturing his newest product line ” face shields.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Having witnessed other businesses adapt and shift their production resources towards supporting frontline health efforts, Tezera chose to follow suit. He decided to start small, and use the 3D printers in his Scarborough-based business to prototype face shields as personal protective equipment.

Working by hand, Tezera moved through each face shield with earnest. Unfortunately, as can happen in a quick moment, Tezera sustained an injury to his thumb.

“What should I do now?” Tezera said he initially wondered, given the COVID-19 pandemic. “Would I be safe? Should I really go to the hospital? I was concerned about the situation.”

In the end, Tezera decided to go to Scarborough Health Network’s General hospital. Despite his resolve, concerns loomed in his mind as he arrived. However, upon entering through the emergency department, Tezera found that any worried thoughts soon faded to the background.

“It was so well organized. The screening process was so friendly and easy to navigate,” said Tezera. “I felt completely safe and put at ease.”

After speaking with a nurse while waiting to be seen, conversation circled around the events that led him into the hospital that day.

“I explained that I was trying to build face shields, and I guess word spread so that by the time I got fixed up, I was showing them the sample in my car!”

In the end, Tezera’s face shield operation is in full swing. In fact, his face shields are being used at Scarborough Health Network (SHN) to help protect frontline staff.

And while his thumb has mostly healed, Tezera won’t soon forget the exceptional emergency care he received at SHN ” in the middle of a pandemic crisis no less.

“They really took care of me,” said Tezera of the dedicated hospital staff. “And I’m so glad I can use my business to support the community that’s been my home.”