Area businessmen Willie King Jr. and Ridge Druilhet have collaborated on a face mask project they hope will spread a message of unity while keeping people safe.
On Wednesday, the two men, along with a network of friends and volunteers, gave out 500 face masks emblazoned with the words "Love is colorblind" outside King's Funeral Home, 1611 Gerstner Memorial Dr.
The white cotton masks with black print were designed by Druilhet, who is a COVID-19 survivor. Druilhet and King promoted the mask give-away on Facebook, but had not anticipated being almost completely out of masks by 1:15 p.m. The give-away was scheduled from 1-4 p.m.
"People started showing up before 1 p.m.," said Druilhet.
"This message isn't complicated. This message isn't hard to understand. This message is about love and how love is colorblind. Love doesn't discriminate between people of different races and ethnic groups and neither should we ... You can wear these masks and speak volumes without ever saying a word," Druilhet said on a Facebook video promoting the give-away.
Druilhet and King do not want Wednesday's event to be a on-time thing. The two of them are encouraging local leaders to contribute to the colorblind mask cause so more of them can be made and distributed. They are setting up a fund with the Eljay Foundation, eljayfd.org, to accept donations. For more information, call Druilhet at 368-4716.