MADISON, NJ -This time of the year, it is all about giving back. People from all over the world have been giving back to those affected by the coronavirus. Whether they were local businesses, public schools, or ordinary families, people have given their support to each other.
Recently, a teacher of Madison was rewarded a brand-new car for his efforts of giving back. His name is Jason Erdreich, from Randolph, a teacher at Madison Junior School, who leads sixth, seventh and eighth graders in technology, engineering, and design, as well as a kindergarten to 12th grade STEAM Coordinator.
Back in the spring, Erdreich, along with fellow teachers and students, banded together to use 3D printers to create personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, face shields, ear protectors and masks with 3D ear straps for health care workers. Back then, over 2,800 PPEs were made and delivered to multiple health centers and groups, including the Madison EMS, the Madison Board of Education B&G staff, the Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, St. Barnabas Hospital, Morristown Medical, the Holly Manor Center, Sunrise of Morris Plains, Valley Hospital and Beth Israel & Local Offices.
Today, even as education is taken virtual and in-person, with the threat of another lockdown, Erdreich and his team continue to make PPEs. When schools reopen in September, the Madison teacher made an additional 750 face shields and 1,000 ear guards for every Madison school employee. In total, his team have made well over 13,000 PPEs during COVID-19.
“We are making the best of a challenging situation,” said Erdreich, as he continues to teach at Madison Junior. “Through a hybrid model, students are able to work with their teachers in person and virtually while keeping our community safe through distancing measures. Teachers are working hard to redesign our content so it can be instructed in this new model while still being meaningful and engaging, and students are adapting to a new environment in terms of learning and socialization with their peers. While we are literally distancing from one another, it’s certainly brought the community together.”
This togetherness has not only help many to push forward, but it has also brought others some deserved rewards. Erdreich’s new vehicle is 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF 100th Anniversary Special Edition. This has given to him by Mazda USA as part of their Mazda Heroes project; an initiative that celebrates individuals who have done selfless, heroic deeds for their community. Erdreich’s wife Cara had nominated him for this recognition.
“I’m truly speechless,” said Erdreich, upon receiving his sweet new ride. “I never imagined anything like this happening to me ever. Not even in a raffle or something, let alone for a thing that I did. I’m not really one for the spotlight, but this has been a truly incredible experience. I feel very fortunate, and I am endlessly appreciative to my colleagues, students, administrators, community members, and my wife that really helped make all of the PPE in the thick of the pandemic, and even more so for the front line workers we were making the PPE for.”
But of course, Erdreich does not intend to start a road trip and take some R&R with his new set of wheels. For him, it still about giving back, especially now as the holidays come closer.
“Now again more than ever, we need to work to keep our community together and support those in need,” said Erdreich. “As an educator, I am always looking to improve and assist the lives of my students, their families, and my family.”