by Andrea Almoite

Mark Van Der Hyde is part of a family devoted to public service. His wife is a critical care nurse at Lowell General Hospital near Boston, while his Dad and brother are nurses, his sister works in a medical office, and his mom works in food service.

When COVID-19 hit, the Van Der Hyde family’s world turned upside down. “My wife is a critical care nurse and has been treating COVID patients for about 2 months,” he said. “She has been isolating from myself and our three kids in a camper in our yard since the surge hit our community.”

Van Der Hyde saw how all of his family members and their colleagues were working hard to keep their communities safe, healthy and fed, and admitted to feeling a bit hopeless as to how he could contribute. “A lot of the people I care most about are directly in harm’s way, while I'm working from home doing my normal thing, decidedly not in harm’s way,” he said. “I wanted to do something nice and encouraging, especially for my wife.”

Van Der Hyde, who graduated from Tyler with an AAA in visual communications and who works as a senior project manager at a Boston-area design agency, decided to use his graphic design skills to create a Corona Warrior Corps logo to recognize the dedication of all frontline and essential workers and to allow others to show support for those individuals.

“In the early days of the crisis, there wasn’t a lot of visual imagery available, and what was available was medically-focused,” Van Der Hyde said. “Almost overnight, COVID put so many people on a frontline that never were near one before, and I just wanted to make something this group could wear to show some solidarity and pride in their contribution.”

Van Der Hyde’s logo shows a coronavirus particle being contained by four semicircles representing healthcare workers, grocery/food service workers, local/state/federal government and the general public. It represents how these groups can contain the disease together.

He initially put his design on a sign posted outside his wife’s hospital, but then moved on to make t-shirts for his family and friends. “I used an RVA-based print-on-demand company Bonfire for the first run and had a small profit that I was donating to the Lowell General Hospital COVID-19 fund,” Van Der Hyde said.  “A local company, Noreast Apparel, offered to help and gave a way to keep costs low while generating more profit, so I did a little fundraiser over about 4 weeks that brought in $500, which was fun.”

Learn more about the logo and see the shirt designs at Corona Warrior Corps.

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