Face shield effort gains steam

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Coty Pastene is looking for a few good volunteers

Pastene is an engineer employed by a Dalton, Ga.-based carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries Group Inc. She lives in Webster, works remotely from home and has recently started devoting many of her spare hours to a new passion: turning out protective face shields on a pair of 3-D printers.

Working with her is a fast-growing group of volunteers she has recruited to Face Shields Roc. As of last week, the effort had pulled in 50 people. Pastene has overseen donations of nearly 3,000 of the urgently needed personal protective equipment to area hospitals and health care organizations.

Face Shields Roc beneficiaries have included Rochester Regional Health hospitals and the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center as well as Oneida Health in Madison County. Pastene intends the group to mainly supply the hard-to-find items to Rochester-area providers, but she says it will do what it can to supply any organizations it can practically reach.

Pastene got the idea from her wife, who is works as a nurse practitioner at a local institution that Pastene declined to identify. 

“I asked her what I could do to help,” Pastene says. 

Her wife’s answer: Find personal protective equipment. After learning that face shields could be produced on 3-D printers, Pastene started cranking them out on a printer borrowed from the Webster School District and put out a call to area 3-D printer owners to join her. The response has rapidly gathered steam.

“Yesterday, we had 40 volunteers. A day later we have eight more,” Pastene told me last week.

While she expected to gather enthusiasts who already own the devices, Christopher Bell bought two just so he could join the FaceshieldsRoc effort.  Bell did not reveal what he paid for the devices, which can be purchased on Amazon for prices ranging from the low $200s to more than $1,000. 

Bell is executive director of the Monroe County Medical Society. Like many of us who aren’t involuntarily idled by the COVID-19 outbreak but don’t need to go into an office, he is currently working from home.

“I’m printing face shields in my garage as we speak,” he told me during a phone interview last week.

The process is somewhat time consuming. It takes approximately an hour just to print out a headband, Pastene says.

Hastily organized and literally only weeks old, Face Shields Roc is not a registered non-profit, so donations of time, materials or equipment are not tax-deductible. If that’s a drawback, Pastene and volunteers like Bell don’t seem to mind. 

Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer. All Rochester Beacon coronavirus articles are collected here.

One thought on “Face shield effort gains steam

  1. What are the volunteers for? Do you need to have a 3D printer? Or can I volunteer by delivering face shields where they need to go?

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