Akron has a history of helping when the nation needs it!

Mar 24, 2020

Will Akron and Summit County corporations and businesses be asked once again to step up to the plate as it has in the past!

On December 8, 1941, the Empire of Japan invaded the nation of Malaya and shortly thereafter took control of Singapore, effectively cutting off America's natural rubber supply.

To aid the war effort, Akron's rubber giants, Goodyear, Goodrich and Firestone, turned over their patent rights on synthetic rubber to the U.S. government.

Dr. Waldo Semon of Hudson, who earned 116 patents during his career with B.F. Goodrich, was enlisted to use the decades of collected data to invent a successful synthetic rubber - all within a few months.

Seven months later, Semons' team had produced nearly 4,000 tons of synthetic rubber, effectively making Akron the worldwide rubber research center, a tradition that continues today.

- text from the Summit County Historical Society's membership brochure written by Dave Lieberth circa 2014.

The Society's president & CEO, Leianne Neff Heppner, continues to keep the organization and its board up to date with our nation's attack on COVID 19 by participating in teleconferencing communication led by the Greater Akron Chamber and ArtsNow coordinated through the County of Summit, City of Akron, all local hospital and health organizations, local arts/cultural/environmental agencies, as well as, contacts at the state and national level.

Congressman Tim Ryan was part of this morning's briefings (March 24, 2020) sharing the importance of companies assisting in the efforts to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and other services where possible with their technology, employee resources and production services. He emphasized the work of President Trump invoking the Defense Production Act, DPA, in order to provide necessary medical equipment to treat patients.

More historic stories on local companies changing their production lines to help as needed during crisis will follow in future Society social media posts.

Please observe the "stay at home" directives to help flatten the curve of the COVID 19 spread. We are each individually involved in this fight to end the virus from taking more of our loved ones around the world. Now is not the time to panic, or hoard Purell products, even though they are made by GOJO in Akron and Summit County with headquarters in the former BFGoodrich Company.

We will get through this together by listening and following the sage advice of those who historically study and currently work to combat the spread of illness and disease.

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