Kandu starts work on combat bandages for U.S. Army
Kandu, a Holland nonprofit organization that provides training and work for people with barriers to employment, celebrated the start last week of a three-year contract to assemble more than 1.2 million battlefield bandages for the U.S. Army. The agreement is a partnership with Israeli medical supplier PerSys Medical, which has contracted with Kandu to supply the U.S. military with the high-performance bandages.
Executives from PerSys and Kandu, as well as elected and community officials, were in attendance and took a tour of the facility.
Ofer Molad, CEO and president of PerSys Medical, explained how the bandage was used to quickly dress the wound of United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot in January 2011. In the past, the application of pressure often relied upon a secondary bandage and rock or stone tied under the outer dressing, but this new emergency bandage was easily applied and helped contain her wound, according to Molad.
Kandu was formed in 1953 by a group of parents who had children with disabilities. It now provides services to more than 70 companies and work for more than 1,200 people each year.
“Under this contract, we will be able to further enhance our unique clean room capabilities and tailor them for additional government projects,” said Tom Vreeman, CEO of Kandu. “This was a good pairing of their specific needs with Kandu’s specific capabilities and we are excited to begin the assembly of the bandages.”
As a result of the contract, Kandu will employ 30 to 40 individuals to start, on the sewing, gluing and assembly of the bandage kits. The bandages will be made in Kandu’s FDA-registered and ISO-certified clean room, which provides a strictly controlled clean environment consistent with the sterile manufacturing demands of the bandages, which are included in every combat soldier’s first aid kit.
The bandage assembly marks the second contract Kandu has secured for U.S. military medical products. The organization previously assembled mobile IV units, which are currently included in all of the U.S. armed forces medical kits.
“Kandu Incorporated has been a valued partner to the Holland community for nearly 60 years, and we’re thankful for the employment opportunities that they provide to people across West Michigan,” said Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra.
Other speakers at the event were Congressman Bill Huizenga, Michigan Department of Community Health Director Jim Haveman and Robert Chamberlin, CEO of NISH/AbilityOne.