An Army veteran has created a patch to honor the sacrifices of medical professionals and support staffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jacob Neal, the patch’s creator, saw a need to pay tribute to the “new set of heroes” working in hospitals that were turning into what looked like a war zone. In response he designed the COVID Angel of Mercy, or C.A.M., patch.
Neal, 45, of Warner Robins, Georgia, watched hospitals turn into battlefields and medical personnel fight the death and destruction caused by the pandemic. He found it to be similar to his experiences in the Army and got an idea.
“I thought about the fact that we had something to recognize us like a combat badge. I thought it would be nice if they had something similar to that,” said Neal, who works as a civilian at Ft. Gordon in Georgia.
Since the start of this project, Neal said he’s had orders from 32 different states, the UK, and Afghanistan. He has personally purchased 3,000 patches and says he wishes that number could be 300,000.
Alongside the patches, he has set up a scholarship fund for the spouses and children of medical providers and support staff that lost their lives due to COVID-19.
“Fifty percent of the profits go into the scholarship fund. The other 50 percent goes to me repurchasing these C.A.M.s, getting them made, shipped to me, and packaged,” he said. “None of this goes to me getting rich. I am just trying to give tribute to this new set of heroes.”
Neal designed the patch to apply to any potential wearers.
“I wanted it to be something that everybody could self-identify with, so I decided to put PPE on the angel, and it took away any objective features and made it more inclusive,” he said.
He additionally designed a patch to recognize medical support staff.
Neal said “the guys who clean the floor, who sanitize the rooms, take out the trash – they are at the same risk as the medical providers. But no one seems to acknowledge that. Hence two versions of the C.A.M.”