GALION — Disinfecting, sanitation and personal protective equipment were all part of the new normal for the students and staff of the Galion City Schools as they opened the new school year Thursday.
Finding hand sanitizer was one of the biggest challenges for the schools in preparing for the start of the new year, and they turned to the Iron Vault Distillery in Galion to help fill that need. Iron Vault co-owner John Bassett approached Galion superintendent Jennifer Allerding with the idea of partnering with the schools prior to the start of the school year, and the district’s leader couldn’t have been happier.
“We receive so much support from the community that this was an easy decision,” Allerding said. “Galion is such a small community and it is important that we, as the school district, do everything we can to support local businesses and organizations.”
Iron Vault initially made a 10-gallon batch of hand sanitizer and donated it to the schools. Since that first 10 gallons, the donation has grown to a total of 27 gallons of hand sanitizer donated by Iron Vault Distillery.
“We have staff members at the high school and middle school spraying the Iron Vault sanitizer into the hands of students as they enter the building,” Allerding said. “We also have bottles of the sanitizer in each classroom so our teachers can sanitize their rooms between classes.”
Since the pandemic started in March, Iron Vault has been diligently working to produce sanitizer. The distillery gave much of the first sanitizer it produced away for free to the community.
“Galion welcomed us with open arms when we started this business, and we knew we needed to help our community when the pandemic started,” Bassett said. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Galion City Schools and hope that we can supply them with all their hand sanitizer needs.”
In helping to supply the district with enough hand sanitizer, Iron Vault Distillery applied for — and received — a $250,000 grant from the state of Ohio to ramp up hand sanitizer production.
“This is a huge opportunity for our business,” Bassett said. “We plan to use the grant to help purchase the needed equipment and supplies to grow our hand sanitizer production to much higher levels.”
Added Allerding: “Our hope is that we can continue to grow and strengthen our partnership with Iron Vault Distillery. I can’t begin to thank John, Lori (John’s wife) and Sam (Theaker, co-owner) enough for their generosity to the Galion City Schools.”