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Thanks to the efforts of three Westchester businessmen, 7,000 masks and PPE are on their way to police departments across Westchester; half arrived this week. 

When Mark Okamoto was introduced to Richard Zhang by Alan Singer in 2018, the men had no way of knowing that their business relationship could actually end up saving lives. 

Attorney Alan Singer introduced Statewide Abstract Director of Regional Sales Mark Okamoto to Richard Zhang, founder of Richbridge Capital LLC and manager of Empire Suites in White Plains and Empire Apartments in New Rochelle, to assist with closing on several real estate transactions in Westchester. Richard Zhang is originally from China while Mark Okamoto is from Japan. 

Mark often assists local police departments around Westchester as an interpreter, offering to help crime victims who do not speak English. Mark is fluent in English and Japanese and also speaks Korean. His work as an interpreter makes him a valuable resource for many of the police departments around the county. 

Upon their return to Shanghai in mid-March, Richard and his family immediately started procuring PPEs for donation from trusted sources. During the two-week mandatory self-quarantine at home, they were able to ship more than 100 packages that included 15,000 PPEs to both large and small community hospitals in Washington, California and New York state in the first week. Starting the second week, the Zhang family reached out to senior communities, first responders and friends and alums who might help distribute or know of those in need. So far, more than 30,000 pieces of personal protective equipment have been donated and sent to the U.S. with more on the way. 

Richard contacted Mark wanting to do more and knowing that Mark had connections with several police departments, offered to donate to the first responders who he knew probably had limited access to personal protective equipment. 

Since the original contact on March 27, more than 7,000 masks and gloves have been sent and are on their way to the Westchester County Police Chiefs’ Association to be distributed to police departments around the county. Several thousand more will be sent to first responders within a week. Half of the masks have arrived and more arrived by April 3.

– Risa Hoag

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