Luft Bestows State Recognition On Reditus, Rossi For COVID-19 Efforts
State Rep. Mark Luft, R-Pekin, believes COVID-19 may have inflicted a larger toll on the City of Pekin and Tazewell County if not for the work of Reditus Laboratories and CEO Dr. Aaron Rossi.
“Our community stayed safer (and) we stayed above water, unlike a lot of communities around us,” Luft said Monday as he presented Rossi and Reditus with two certificates of recognition from the Illinois General Assembly, along with a bit of personal gratitude.
“It was personal to me because leadership positions during COVID were very lonely spots to be in,” said Luft, who was elected to the 91st District seat in March while simultaneously serving his first term as Pekin’s mayor. “So to have somebody there going through that with you with a full understanding of what's going on, and to bring pieces to the puzzle, that helped.”
The first proclamation honors Reditus for its contributions to Illinois and Pekin toward promoting safety and providing community support during the pandemic, while the second acknowledgement credits the company for job creation.
Rossi said the recognition is very appreciated, as is the bond he’s developed with Luft.
“Obviously, we've been through a lot. It's been a long road basically getting to a point where we feel like there's somewhat have returned to normal,” said Rossi. “We’re able to kind of take a deep breath, and this means a lot. We've worked real closely together and become pretty close through all the trials tribulations through the pandemic.”
Reditus opened in June 2019 and has nearly 300 employees. Assisted by a $100,000 loan from the Pekin City Council, the company has performed more than 2.4 million COVID-19 tests since April 2020.
Rossi said the company also did whatever it could to help Luft and the city.
“Being on the ground floor and being in Pekin, obviously they were my first priority,” said Rossi. “Whatever they needed, we took care of it, gave them PPE (personal protective equipment), and had constant access to testing through the police department, the fire, the EMTs, you name it.
“So we really helped them try to get through things, and obviously, he (Luft) is asking my advice on things. We have a lot of individuals on our staff that helped me give them good advice on what his decision should be moving forward for the community.”
Luft said their professional relationship was forged in May 2019 — well before the emergence of COVID-19 — when Rossi requested a meeting with the then-new mayor to share his vision on bringing jobs to the city by revitalizing PAL Health Technologies and starting Reditus. Luft said Rossi won him over very quickly.
“Five minutes into the conversation, I looked at him and interrupted him and said, ‘Yes, let's do this,’” said Luft. “So the city got together and worked with him, and we did what we had to get done to get PAL back and to start this vision with Reditus.”
Luft said the state recognitions honor the amount of time and effort Rossi and Reditus have dedicated to combating the pandemic.
“Not a lot of people know what the last 15 months was like, and what it took to get through that and keep people safe and still move forward — protect the community from an unknown, protect it from economic downfall,” said Luft. “I was proud and am proud to stand next to a guy who, in my capacity as mayor guiding a community, gave me the tools I needed to make that happen.”
Rossi said that although the brunt of COVID-19 seems to have subsided, it doesn’t mean the pandemic has ended.
“Everybody needs to be cautious just because it's summertime ... and there's these variants that we certainly need to keep our eyes on,” he said. “I'm very cautiously optimistic, but I feel in the fall we’ve got to be very, very cognizant of what's going on and be able to pivot from basically everyone being under the impression that we’re in the clear.”