Jose Gallegos, the warehouse manager at Medline’s Grayslake distribution center, was enjoying the July 4 holiday knowing he was on call for medical emergencies in the Midwest.
Filomena Kropiwiec, the company’s director of operations, was at her home in Wauconda when her husband told her he had heard on the news that there had been a mass shooting in the area.
“I asked him where and he said ‘Highland Park’,” Kropiwiec said. “I sent Jose (Gallegos) a text to prepare because we were going to have to prepare an emergency order,” she added, knowing that NorthShore University HealthSystem Highland Park Hospital is a Medline customer.
Kropiwiec, Gallegos and four other Medline workers from the warehouse were at work in Grayslake within 2.5 hours of a gunman killing seven people and injuring dozens more during the July 4 parade at Highland Park. The extent of the carnage was unknown at the time.
As the shockwaves of the massacre spread through Highland Park, Lake County and the nation, they quickly reached Medline President Andy Mills, a Highland Park resident who knows the traditional July 4th celebration personally. from the city.
“The parade was something my family attended and participated in for many years when our children were growing up,” Mills said in an email. “To say that I am sickened and saddened by the shooting is an understatement.”
Knowing that lives could depend on how quickly supplies arrived at the hospital, Kropiwiec got a truck and quickly called Rob Sheedy, sales manager for the Medline division responsible for the Highland Park hospital. She asked him to get the order in batches, not individual items, for faster processing.
Around 1 p.m., Kropiwiec said the initial order arrived, and by 2 p.m. the team was assembled to begin “picking and packing” medical supplies. They included about fifteen surgical kits containing all the tools sterilized and ready to use for an operation. There were also items ranging from test tubes to safety glasses.
“The order just kept growing,” Kropiwiec said. “We would say ‘wait’ and add additional elements.”
Kropiwiec said the truck was fully loaded within 2.5 hours of the team starting filling the order. At 5 p.m. he arrived at the hospital.
While emergency prescriptions are something Medline workers are trained in and prepared for when needed, Gallegos said this time was out of the ordinary because the horrors of a shooting mass were so close to home.
“I had mixed emotions,” Gallegos said. “What happened is horrific. It is our duty and our responsibility to help our community. While we were working I felt it might be someone we know. Highland Park is so close .
Although Mills said he was proud of how everyone involved in Medline’s 4th of July operation provided medical supplies in the aftermath of the shooting, he praised those who responded to the hospital.
“NorthShore staff did a heroic job in a stressful situation,” Mills said.