Towmaster of Litchfield steps up to build IV stands for Meeker Memorial Hospital

The Meeker County community stepped up in ways large and small to help Meeker Memorial Hospital prepare for a possible surge of COVID-19 cases. Towmaster of Litchfield used its employees' expertise to build steel IV stands for the hospital.

Towmaster employees, pictured left to right, Dustin Nguyen, Ryan Wahl and Joe Sorenson, assemble IV stands the company built for Meeker Memorial Hospital in Litchfield. The Litchfield company usually designs and builds trailers, truck bodies and truck parts. It made the pivot to IV stands as the hospital was gearing up for a potential COVID-19 surge. Submitted photo

LITCHFIELD — A set of 50 locally made IV stands has been part of Meeker Memorial Hospital’s preparation for a potential surge of COVID-19 cases.

The project by workers at Towmaster of Litchfield is emblematic of the generosity and assistance offered by the hospital’s community, said Marc Vaillancourt, the hospital’s vice president of development and operations.

“We’ve been blessed by a community that has rallied around and taken the steps they were asked to do,” he said.

The Meeker County hospital has been planning for a potential surge of COVID-19 cases along with other providers in the South Central Healthcare Coalition, a group of healthcare providers working together to prepare for a potential surge.

As part of the overall plan, Meeker needed to prepare to increase the number of beds at the Litchfield hospital if needed.


While the hospital was trying to stock up on personal protective equipment, health care facilities around the country were doing the same, Vaillancourt said.

At the same time, organizations in Litchfield, Meeker County and the wider area reached out with the same question: How can we help? Some, like Towmaster, had particular expertise.

A group of employees used their knowledge of steel fabrication, engineering and design to make the 50 IV stands, according to a release from the company.

“We are proud of the way our team members stepped up to the plate and took the initiative to support our community,” said Mike Albers, general manager at Towmaster, in a news release. The work was the company’s way of giving back to its community, the release said..

Towmaster workers made a prototype for hospital approval, and delivered a finished product within a few days, Vaillancourt said.

“They made some great stands,” he added, and the stands will serve the hospital for years to come.

Towmaster is a Monroe Truck Equipment company. Its workers normally design and build trailers, truck bodies and truck equipment. They also make precision parts.

People in the community offered all kinds of help, Vaillancourt said.


Members of the community donated PPE and people have made cloth masks, reusable gowns and other items. It’s all thanks to “the ingenuity of people in our county, their willingness to help,” he said.

In addition to the help offered, people in the community have followed social distancing and other safety recommendations to slow down the number of cases.

“I think it’s part of the Minnesota spirit,” Vaillancourt said. “I think the residents of Meeker County and the communities we serve really embody that 'Minnesota Nice' spirit.”

The medical community continues to ask people in the community to practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and wear masks in public.

Health care providers believe the community’s efforts have been able to delay the surge and possibly reduce its severity, Vaillancourt said.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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