By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 07, 2020 at 5:00 AM

Saukville manufacturer Rebel Converting, which has donated millions of masks already during the COVID-19 pandemic, has vowed to donate the materials needed to make a million masks if the City of Milwaukee passes an ordinance making the wearing of masks mandatory.

Owner Michael Kryshak sent a letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the city's Common Council making the offer. Kryshak also promised to help the city find volunteers to turn the materials into masks.

When the pandemic struck, Kryshak worked with area groups to organize the MaskUpMKE initiative, which has harnessed the power of nearly 3,000 volunteers to manufacture and distribute almost 3 million masks via more than 550 organizations.

"We fully support Milwaukee legislation to mandate face coverings in public places," Kryshak wrote in the letter. "We want to make sure that affordability for low-income residents is not a barrier to anyone helping stop the spread of the disease in the community and complying with the requirement."

Kryshak said he wants to make sure, "that there will be no obstacles in Milwaukee to masking up.

"These masks will made available for free to low-income individuals in Milwaukee who cannot afford them. If desired, Rebel Converting would also be willing to donate 50,000 MaskUpMKE envelopes (each containing three facemasks and a 211 magnet) for law enforcement to hand out as needed if the City deemed it appropriate."

A proposed mask ordinance is expected to go up for a Common Council vote this week.

Rebel Converting, which manufactures disinfecting wipes, recently announced that it has purchased a building on Milwaukee's far northwest side for use as a manufacturing facility and headquarters.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.