1 Mask campaign

Taylor, a server at the Snug Harbor restaurant in Grand Haven, sports a face mask with the campaign’s logo.

A show of unity to protect the residents, workers and visitors to the community is being launched today with the “For the Love of Grand Haven” mask campaign.

The campaign centers on a new logo that will be printed on 1,500 reusable cloth face masks and given to “economic frontline workers” throughout the city’s business districts.

The logo has a heart wearing a surgical mask and features the letters “GH,” which stands for Grand Haven. The logo communicates that, at present, wearing a mask is the best strategy to keep the community safe and open for business, supporters say.

“There are so many debates and disagreements surrounding this pandemic. It’s caused a lot of division,” Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “Our goal is not to challenge viewpoints. Our goal is to find common ground.

“Like every community, Grand Haven has its share of opposing viewpoints on lots of issues,” he added. “But unlike many other communities, we also have a prolific history of coming together when it truly matters. Now is one of those times.”

The North Ottawa Community Health System helped community leaders understand public health data to validate the strategy and timing. The Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority raised $5,000 from its members to fund an initial printing of the branded masks. The city welcomed the unification strategy by placing banners and adopting messaging from city officials to the Department of Public Safety officers out in the community.

2 mask campaign

Jeremy Swiftney, left, of the Grand Haven Main Street DDA, and Mayor Bob Monetza support the new “For the Love of Grand Haven” face masks.

The masks have been given to employees in Grand Haven’s restaurants and bars, stores, coffee shops, banks, and other customer-facing establishments in the downtown area. Employees will wear them as a show of unity, helping remind everyone that masks protect each other’s health, as well as their jobs, supporters say.

“We think it’s extremely important to model the behavior we need to see,” said Grand Haven Main Street’s executive director, Jeremy Swiftney. “The logo is fun, light, disarming and evokes inclusion. That’s why we are making it free to whoever wants to use it. We see this as a movement rather than a campaign, and want everyone to take ownership and spread goodwill at the grass-root level.”

To help the movement spread, a website was designed by Revel Marketing along with the logo as an in-kind donation to the effort. Fortheloveofcommunity.com explains the movement and has the downloadable logo, as well as other versions that can be adopted by neighboring communities. It also has versions that play on the theme, which can be used by citizens living anywhere, such as, “for the love of beer,” “for the love of sunsets,” “for the love of sushi,” and so on.

Love GH logo

“We’ve always known that the power to heal is a combination of medicine and attitude,” said Shelleye Yaklin, president/CEO of the North Ottawa Community Health System. “We are blessed beyond belief to have the best of both in our community – excellent medical care and people who always look for ways to help. As we say a lot around here – it takes all hands on deck. There is no better time than this moment to extend our community’s hand to raise others up.”

NOCHS spokesperson Jennifer VanSkiver encourages people to make the logo their profile picture on social media to help spread the word.

“Nothing has ever been more important than reconciling that we have to come together to keep our people and our economy safe,” she said. “Despite what’s happening elsewhere, we know we have the power if we come together.”

The masks are not available to the public at this time, but campaign organizers are discussing the possibility of selling masks and T-shirts with the logo.

You may contact Becky Vargo at bvargo@grandhaventribune.com.

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