Masked in Manistique: Paul Bunyan statue covered to encourage community

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MANISTIQUE, Mich. (WJMN) – Paul Bunyan is the ax swinging lumberjack legend of folklore. Outside the Schoolcraft Tourism & Commerce Welcome Center in Manistique, the mythical man mountain looks a little different.

A new campaign called #MaskedInManistique was launched after a number of people were seen not wearing face coverings when visiting local businesses and arriving at the hospital.

We talked with Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital CEO and Chair of Schoolcraft Tourism & Commerce, Bob Crumb. He talked about how the community in Schoolcraft County has been supportive through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“I think it’s been tense, but our community has really had a great outpouring. We’ve had people buy us food, donate masks, donate hand cleaner. We’ve been really fortunate to have the community members that we do. I think that’s kept everyone positive,” said Crumb.

He said if people aren’t following guidelines as things open up, that’s cause for concern.

“Quite honestly, we’re a small hospital. We’re as prepared as we can be, but we cannot take an influx like they have had downstate,” said Crumb.

Crumb said if needed, they could double their size beyond their 12 beds. They would rely heavily on referral hospitals like UPHS in Marquette.

Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital shared photos of its employees, all wearing masks. It is a call to the community to do their part and wear a mask when visiting the hospital and in all public settings.

Crumb said now is the time to call your doctor and make appointments you have had cancelled or have been putting off. Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is testing everyone who comes through the door, along with a long list of other safety protocols. Patients are being tested before procedures as well. All they ask is that people do their part, which includes tourists.

“I think everyone is welcome they just need to use good judgement. Social distancing is not hard to do. Wearing a mask is not hard to do in public. Washing your hands thoroughly. These are very simple things that don’t impose on people’s rights and will allow us to open up more and more,” said Crumb.

To help the Manistique community rally around the idea of wearing face coverings, a handcrafted, 2 foot wide mask was made to cover the bearded visage of the 15 foot tall Paul Bunyan Statue.

The idea is for people to take their picture next to the statue using the hashtag #MaskedInManistique and post the pictures to social media. Local leaders are hoping seeing their neighbors practicing proper social distancing and using face coverings will encourage others to do their part.

“That’s what we hope for is continuing to be in a good place. Allow more and more things to open up carefully and thoughtfully just like the hospital is doing and really have a chance for the economy to start to come back,” said Crumb.

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