Tim “Sully” Sullivan can’t stop working. While many residents stay home to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, he and his team at Sullivan Construction Inc. are still offering essential services in Pullman and Moscow.
On Wednesday, a tree branch crashed through a window, and they answered the call. If a water line bursts, roofing blows off or a house starts sinking down a hillside because of bad retaining walls, Sullivan is going to be there, virus or not, at least under current orders.
“It’s a sensitive situation and we’re fortunate to have a job that allows for social distance. That’s why, as cautiously as we can, we’re still chipping away at things,” Sullivan said. “In terms of the future, who knows?”
As he and his colleagues are working long hours to wrap up on emergency jobs — preventing things from spoiling and finishing homes so people can properly self-quarantine — they’ve carved out time to put together simple, self-contained portable sinks.
The idea came to them last year as a way to wash up on the job before lunch and during flu season. He said the concept is an old one inspired by camping sinks, but the specific Sullivan design is the result of collaborating with his three employees.
Using two buckets and a foot operated pump, the contraption can offer dozens of handwashes without ever touching skin to a handle. It won’t waste water either, he said, as it only releases as much as you pump.
Sullivan said it takes him about two hours to make one of these sinks and it would be a great project for families to work on together during the stay-at-home orders. And, while it could keep people busy, if it prevents even one person from catching the virus in a situation where plumbing isn’t available, then it was worth his time.
“I’ve had some people ask me to build them some and sell them some, but that’s not really why I built it,” Sullivan said. “It’s so simple and easy that anybody can do it. There’s times to make money and other times to not worry about it and just do what’s right for your fellow man. We all live on the same round rock.”
He said it might be helpful at triage tents that have been set up in the area, where people get tests outside. He contacted Pullman Regional Hospital and is waiting for a COVID-19 response team doctor to get back to him.
“I could drop one off right now,” he said.
But his main goal in sharing the design is to give everyday people a fighting chance against the virus.
“There are plenty of tradesmen like myself that truly care about the people we work for and are always doing our best to stay safe around them,” he said.
Maggie Quinlan is the news clerk and writes feature stories for the Daily News. Have a story idea for her to tackle? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org