JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey contractor found a way to put his skills to good use.

He used his know-how to help health care workers, including his wife, in the coronavirus fight.

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Behind the heroes working in hospitals, there are people who care about them, who are home, feeling helpless.

“Knowing she’s going into work … They put their lives at risk,” Tom Simeone told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.

With all of Simeone’s construction projects on hold, it left a lot of time to worry about his wife, Cristina, a nurse at Jersey City Medical Center.

“You think, ‘What can I do to make her life easier and make their lives a little easier?'” Simeone said. “She shows me a picture of this device, this isolation pod … She goes, ‘Do you think you can make this?’ I looked at the picture and I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t see why not.'”

He got to work in their Monmouth County driveway the next day on isolation pods made of plastic and PVC piping.

They’re added protection for doctors, nurses and other patients when those most critically ill with COVID-19 are transported throughout the hospital.


“I’m very proud of him and so grateful because he’s so skillful and he wanted to be able to provide some support,” Cristina Simeone said.

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His wife showed them to hospital administrators, and they loved the idea. The chief medical officer Michael Loftus says they took three of them.

“The way in which donations are vetted is quite robust,” Loftus said. “The pods were such a creative way to solve an unmet need.”

Not everyone with a family member on the front lines has the skill to make something so useful.

Tom Simeone says that’s OK because the best thing you can do is give your loved one emotional support.

“Even a text message every now and then with a heart or an ‘I love you’ or something like that,” he said. “And then when they come home, you know, listen, talk, be there for them.”

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

But until Cristina does come home each night, he has a project to keep him busy, making iso pods for other hospitals as well.

“What they’re doing is really the story here. I’m just a little cog in the wheel in the back just trying to help them, and it feels good to be able to do that, though,” Simeone said.

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A humble husband making a difference however he can.