Woodrow Wilson football players help make disposable hospital gowns at The Odee Company. Photo courtesy of Canvas Kick on Instagram

The disposable gown-making business requires some muscle. So when Travis Stein needed help sheeting large rolls of polyethylene, he called upon the strength of Woodrow Wilson football players.

Stein, a co-owner at commercial print shop The Odee Company, added disposable gowns to the product list in April during the coronavirus pandemic. He got the idea after a local hospital asked if the company could make gowns with the machines used to cut fabric.

More than 85 additional workers were hired to meet the high demand of orders, but Stein disliked giving those opportunities to people already in the workforce. So the Lakewood neighbor contacted Woodrow’s football coach, Anthony Benedetto. Benedetto told his players about the job opportunity, and 11 players signed up to work.

“I played football and enjoyed working summers and knew how hard my teammates worked,” Stein said. “Their discipline and integrity was high.”

During the school year, students worked the second shift after class. But this summer, some have worked 12-hour days.

The work is tiring manual labor and involves stacking 500-pound rolls of polyethylene onto a sheeting mechanism so the material can be cut into gowns. The Odee Company produces 50,000 gowns a day and 2.5 million to date. The gowns are distributed to hospitals throughout Texas, as well as hospice and senior living centers.

“These kids were proud of their work and hungry to work — not just for themselves, but for their families,” Stein said. “One kid put it best: ‘My family asks me every day if I’m going to save lives today.'”