An inspiring business tale

Published 9:55 pm Thursday, June 30, 2011

Suffolk is now home to yet another company with a bona fide story of people reaching for the American dream and building something far greater than they had imagined, something that would improve the lives of countless other Americans and provide a launching point for many others to achieve their own dreams.

Back in 1991, Earl Reubel, a veteran, figured out how to make a certain kind of burn dressing pad that the federal government had been looking to buy for military applications. He started Kerma Medical Products Inc. to manufacture and sell the product, counting fewer than 10 employees on the new company’s entire staff.

Last month, Kerma Medical officially opened a new manufacturing, warehouse and distribution center in Suffolk. In attendance were Reubel and his wife, the original owners, along with son and daughter-in-law Joe and Danielle Reubel, who are now the company’s president and vice president. More importantly, however, there were 93 current employees seated in rows of chairs set up in the warehouse.


Email newsletter signup

That’s 93 people who now earn a living and support their families because of a dream that one man chose to follow 20 years ago. Countless thousands more have been treated with the medical products the company has made and sold during those two decades of business.

Everything from stethoscopes to blood pressure cuffs to the original burn dressings that launched the company have been used at health care facilities all over the nation and are available from that metal building off of Suburban Avenue in Suffolk now. If you’ve had a child in the United States, there’s about a four-in-ten chance that your baby wore one of the tiny pink-and-white or blue-and-white knit bonnets to keep its head warm after birth.

It’s an amazing thing to be able to track success backward and find both the idea that spurred it and the tenacity that nurtured it. Kerma’s history shows us both, and it turns out to be the prototypical tale of the type of people who have made America great.

Welcome to town, folks. We’re proud to have you here.