Monroe County Community College’s new Makerspace facility has been a hive of activity as faculty and staff have been called into action to produce face shields and secure other essential PPE (personal protective equipment) to support the efforts to protect frontline personnel fighting COVID-19.
Mike Reaume, technician in the Applied Science and Engineering Technology division, took the lead for the ASET team to produce rapid prototyped parts in response to the healthcare community’s plea for equipment.
Three different types of face shields have been designed and are being fabricated. ASET team members Robert Semanske, ASET lab technician and Jack Lamour, automotive service program coordinator, have been assisting with fabrication of the RP shields.
The face shields being manufactured are comprised of head gear, a plastic shield and elastic bands to hold the face shields in place.
As more supplies have become available through existing supply chains, CNC machining instructor Troy Elliiott has begun to produce headgear bands for the masks in the college’s CNC lab. Other staff members have volunteered to take home vinyl sheets and foam to create another type of shield.
Mask adjusters for those required to wear masks for a long periods of time used to relieve stress over the ears are now being fabricated along with a door handle attachments that limits direct hand contact when opening doors and a device to attach to bottom of doors to open the door when using when using restrooms and other similar facilities.
“To date we have produced and distributed approximately 120 face shields and dozens of the mask adjusters,” said Parmeshwar Coomar, dean of the ASET division at MCCC. “Our goal is to produce more than 200 face shields and continue to make more of the adjusters and door devices before our on-hand supplies are exhausted.”
“Several corporations and organizations along with MCCC staff members who have made donations have been instrumental to making this effort possible,” said Dr. Kojo Quartey, president of MCCC. “DTE Foundation, the Monroe Kiwanis Club and the La-Z-Boy Foundation immediately responded by donating $1,000 each. In addition, our staff and faculty members have donated over $3,400 through payroll deduction, so far.”
“The DTE Foundation is fully activated during this crisis, from donating PPE for first responders to supporting nonprofits who are working tirelessly to ensure that families across Michigan have food and shelter,” said Lynette Dowler, executive director and president of the DTE Foundation. “The DTE Foundation has been there for the people of Michigan for decades, and we’ll be here during these difficult times to help our great state weather this crisis.”
Susan Vanisacker, director of community relations and The La-Z-Boy Foundation, said: “The La-Z-Boy Foundation is thrilled to provide support to MCCC in its efforts to provide the important and necessary PPE equipment to various frontline and healthcare workers as they respond to COVID-19 in our community. We thank them and are humbled by their service.”
“Cajetan D’Cunha, grant writer/coordinator, has been critical to ensuring the masks and other materials are getting distributed to local and regional frontline service providers,” added Quartey. Equipment and supplies have been provided to the Monroe County Sherriff’s department, non-profits such as the Monroe County Opportunity Program MCOP, Oaks of Righteousness, St. Mary’s Hospital Livonia and local doctors’ offices, and Promedica facilities.
In addition ASET is working with Monroe High School and a consortium of other facilities with RP printers based out of Monroe County to pool resources and produce head shields for distribution to the other organizations in Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio, through COVID19 Medical Supplies of Southeast Michigan & Northwest Ohio. “We are proud to be part of this effort contributing shields to meet demands of hospitals, nursing homes and non-profits. To date 6000 shields have been distributed by the consortium. The MCCC ASET division of MCCC plans to continue supplying to this pool to maximize benefit and reach to all that need the shields,” added Coomar.
PPE supplies such as gowns, shoe covers, gloves and head covers suited for use in a healthcare facility have also have been ordered with some of the donated funds. “After meeting local Monroe County needs we plan to use another local distribution channel Protect Frontline Heroes: PPE Supplies Metro Detroit consortium to assist as many health care facilities in Southeast Michigan as possible.”
“Another organization that has been instrumental in helping all of the organizations like us who can produce, provide and prioritize distribution is findthehelpers.us,” said Coomar. "Through this website organizations in need of PPE and other supplies can submit their needs and requests."
Corporations, organizations and individuals who are interested in supporting MCCC’s efforts to support our community can get more information by visiting www.monroeccc.edu/foundation or call 734-384-4214.
One of three types of Face Shields being made by MCCC and donated to frontliners and organizations in the area.
MCOP volunteers donning MCCC supplied Face Shields prior to delivering food to needy families.