By Veronica Craker
In the face of unprecedented times surrounding the global pandemic of COVID-19, the NNU engineering department is finding a way to use its knowledge and resources to help the community. The university sprang to action last week in response to a plea from Idaho Sen. Jim Risch for anyone with a 3D printer to help print face shields for healthcare workers.
“This is a great way for NNU to show that we’re not only here to educate people but we are here as a part of a community,” Brice Allen, NNU engineering lab manager, said. “The community is in need and we have resources at our disposal that can help.”
Since the request on March 28, Allen and Dr. Steve Parke have been working in conjunction with Boise State University to print the plastic headbands needed for the facemasks that healthcare workers use while caring for patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is obviously an unprecedented time in our nation —in the world,” Allen said. “This is just in keeping with who we are as Christians.”
So far Allen has created 21 headbands and delivered his first batch Wednesday morning. These masks are being collected through BSU and will be delivered to local hospitals.
“We have enough material on hand to probably print about 100 of them total,” Allen said. “It’s our intent to keep printing until we run out of material.”
There have been reports of medical caregivers reusing masks or making their own in order to protect themselves and their patients from the spread of the coronavirus. Allen says that since the call for help was made by Sen. Risch, 200 facemasks have been produced through 3D printers from groups and individuals across the Boise Valley.
“I believe Christ calls us to fill in the gaps as they occur,” Allen said. “This is a giant need and we have jumped in and will fill it to the best of our ability.”