By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker fought off tears Wednesday on the first anniversary of his emergency order at the start of the coronavirus crisis in Massachusetts.

Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Sec. of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders toured an N-95 mask manufacturing facility in Bridgewater that is operated by the Shawmut Corporation and Fallon Company.

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The governor said touring the facility reminded him just how far the state has come since this time last year, when it was a constant struggle to find personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.

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“I have to say, first of all I wasn’t expecting this,” Baker said, referencing his emotional response. “When I think about what we went through in those first few months to try to find PPE in a world where every global supply chain had basically been frozen because of the pandemic, and the difficulties associated with getting very basic protective equipment to our healthcare workers, our first responders, our long-term care workers and so many others in Massachusetts that were looking for it, this is really in some respects a very special moment and a happy anniversary in some ways to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Baker recalled a conversation early on in the pandemic with Fallon Company CEO Joe Fallon, who along with Shawmut Corporation CEO James Wyner helped make the Bridgewater N95 facility a reality.

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“I’m a developer, that’s what I do. I build buildings. I don’t know the first thing about how to actually create an N95 manufacturing facility,” Baker recalled Fallon saying. “But I’ll be g—d—ed if I am going to live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the great centers of research and medicine and development on planet earth and have us struggle ever again to have to deal with the issues of PPE and protecting our workers.”

CBSBoston.com Staff