New England

Connecticut Club Owner Makes Generous Mask Donation

James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | April 16, 2020

BLOOMFIELD, CT- Tennis facilities, like all non-essential businesses throughout New England, have closed their doors amid the Coronavirus pandemic, but one club in Connecticut is staying busy for a reason other than athletics. Rick Wu, owner of Bloomfield Tennis Club in Bloomfield, CT, is doing more than his fair share to assist his local community. Wu has donated nearly 3,000 masks to Connecticut hospitals, club members and locals in need and is expected to give another 3,000 in the coming weeks. 


“I saw how many people couldn’t get them, and I was fortunate to have access, so I just wanted to do my part to give back to society,” Wu said. 


Wu, a native of Taiwan, visited his home country back in January, right around the time the virus began to spread in mainland China. After hearing the devastating news, Wu cut his trip short and rushed home.  


In order to prepare for the pandemic he expected to soon impact the U.S., in mid-February, Wu placed six large online orders for masks. But at the time, with demand already starting to increase, the shipments never arrived and the orders were canceled. 


It wasn’t until early March that Wu contacted his nephew in China whose best friend owns a manufacturing facility. Through his nephew, Wu placed an order for 1,000 KN95 masks, (the Chinese version of the N95 masks, which Wu says are suitable for most doctors and nurses, but not ER work) and 2,000 traditional surgical masks, which he received on March 30. 


Immediately upon arrival, Wu’s right-hand man, Rostyk Datsko, who works as a teaching pro and the club manager, created a mask distribution plan. Datsko is also the USTA New England Junior Team Tennis Coordinator for Southern Connecticut. 

Rick Wu is the owner of Bloomfield Tennis Club in Bloomfield, CT.

Through club members, friends and family, Datsko identified contacts at four Hartford area hospitals to send the KN95 masks to. He gave 200 KN95 masks each to Hartford Hospital, Manchester Memorial Hospital, UConn Health and St. Francis Hospital and 100 to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. He donated the final 100 to a variety of local medical facilities. 


He then called USTA League captains and club members to pick up masks for their teams, families and friends. Everyone was welcome to stop by the facility to pick up masks (25 per captain and five per member). In addition, he gave them out in bunches to teaching pros to distribute to their students. 


“People have been very appreciative and thankful and amazed at what Rick is willing and able to do,” Datsko said. “He paid quite a lot of money for these masks, and the fact that he’s willing to donate them like this is incredible.”


According to Datsko, within 2-3 weeks, 95% of the masks were gone. 


“I’m glad, in a small way, I was able to help out and get the masks where they were needed quickly,” he said. “We have a teaching pro who is a respiratory therapist, and what he’s shared with me about the lack of supplies, how unprepared the hospitals are and how much they are struggling, is truly awful. It’s a good feeling to be part of something like this, but all the credit goes to Rick. This was his master plan.”


Soon after his first shipment arrived, Wu placed another identical order of 3,000 more masks to be distributed similarly. At the time of writing, the masks were expected to arrive on Friday, April 17. 


“I’ve been here for 36 years now and just want to help out. I feel really bad especially for the tennis community right now, so I just do my part so less people get sick and can come back to work,” Wu said. 


Datsko added, “Rick is more of an under-the-radar type of guy, and the way he shows his love for the people at his club is by the actions he takes and not the words he speaks.”


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