Healthcare Heroes: New England Biolabs and Beverly Hospital’s Fred Gronberg

Connections Drive PPE Donations

Fred Gronberg is always helping his colleagues at Beverly Hospital, on and off the clock. The part-time simulation technician and pet therapy volunteer also works as a corporate trainer with New England Biolabs (NEB), a biotechnology company based in Ipswich. Thanks to Fred’s coordination and NEB’s generosity, the healthcare heroes at Beverly Hospital received more than 9,000 masks to protect them as they treat COVID-19 patients.

The generous donation came about because the company found itself with a surplus of surgical and N95 masks it had procured before most of its employees began working from home. The NEB executive team and Chief Scientific Officer Sir Richard Roberts, who was knighted after winning the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology, agreed that Beverly needed the masks more than they did.

“For many of our people, if they need help, Beverly Hospital is where they go,” Roberts explained. “If there is something we can do to support them, we’re happy to do it.” Barry Cohen, NEB’s environmental health and safety director and a close friend of Fred’s, worked together with Fred and Beverly Hospital to make the donation happen.

Making the world a better place is a cornerstone of NEB’s mission,” added Andrew Bertera, the company’s executive director of marketing and sales. “Supporting Beverly Hospital with the donation of these masks was just the right thing to do.”

Cohen personally delivered 9,000 surgical masks to the loading dock at Beverly Hospital with Fred’s help, and Roberts brought over 100 N95 masks the next day. “[Roberts] called me at home the night he received the surgical masks and said he would drop them off,” Fred recalled. “He said he didn’t want me to have to make the drive from Boxford. That’s the kind of guy he is.” A dedicated Beverly Hospital staff member and volunteer, Fred still went to meet him and coordinate the delivery.

“We are fortunate to have such generous local business partners like New England Biolabs and colleagues like Fred who contribute in multiple ways,” said Philip Cormier, president of Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals.

While the staff sees this as going above and beyond the call of duty, for Fred, it was just another way to help people. He’s hoping the curve will flatten soon so he can get back to work in the Simulation Center and so he can bring his dog, Chloe, back to visit the patients at Beverly Hospital. Meanwhile, he’s been spending quality time with the cockapoo, who misses meeting new people and making them smile every week. “We’re not telling her what’s going on,” Fred joked.