Palm Coast - Tennis superstar Reilly Opelka, who grew up in Palm Coast, donated 300 masks to grocery store workers throughout the city this week.
"The workers on the front lines serving our community are true heroes," Reilly Opelka said. "I can't thank them enough for all that they're doing to keep Palm Coast running smoothly. We're going to get through this because of people like that, who take care of others selflessly."
Grocery store workers and managers expressed their gratitude for Opelka's donation. Some were overcome with emotion, saying it has been extremely difficult to acquire much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks for their front-line workers.
"Reilly is a shining example of what we all can strive to be in these most challenging times," said Mayor Milissa Holland. "He has always found a way to put his community first and I am continually inspired by his dedication to helping others. I'm eternally grateful to Reilly and to all of those who are serving our community."
Opelka, 22, was awarded the Mayor's Next Generation Award in 2019 and stepped up to sponsor the Palm Coast Open, A USTA Pro Circuit Event in February of this year. He is currently ranked No. 39 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and picked up his second ATP Tour career singles title at the Delray Beach Open last month before the ATP suspended play due to COVID-19.
"I just want to thank all of our workers on the front lines that are continuing to support our community as we face the coronavirus," Opelka said in a video message recorded for the community. "My thoughts are with everyone and I'm so proud to see how the community has come together and how we've supported one another in this really challenging time. Let's continue to move together as one."
As the state faces widespread shortages of PPE, the City of Palm Coast is now accepting donations of unopened, unused masks to distribute throughout our community to those most in need. City staff will distribute them on behalf of the donors. Please bring your donations to City Hall, located at 160 Lake Ave., Palm Coast, FL. There will be a box available from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday each week.
"In this time of need, I'm asking all of you, if you can, to donate any unopened masks that you can spare," Mayor Holland said. "City staff will personally distribute these to workers on the front lines. We need to do everything we can to protect them. Let's rise up, Palm Coast."