Challenging times have a way of bringing people together and the Clarke County community is no exception.

clarke county medical ppe

Clarke Schools staffers, Dave and Annette Lyden, look to design and assemble up to 200 face shields for local medical professionals.

The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has been causing massive shortages of essential supplies across the nation. The health care workers who are on the front line are having trouble securing enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep themselves and their patients safe. So, some very dedicated people and businesses around Clarke County have stepped in.

Dave Lyden, Industrial Technology Instructor for Clarke Schools, and his wife Annette, an associate at Clarke, have been coming in to the industrial arts department over the last week – even while school is closed due to the pandemic – to pitch in on the effort to keep local doctors, nurses, and caregivers safe. Using a lot of ingenuity and the school’s 3-D printer, The Lydens began creating frames for protective face shields to be used by medical professionals throughout the community.

When the word got out about their efforts, materials including plastic and acrylic sheeting, wood for frames, and elastic were donated by local businesses Miller Products Company, and Hormel / Osceola Foods. Highway Lumber helped source materials and Solutions! Osceola’s office and computer repair shop donated customized plastic face shields, and Mr. Lyden and his wife began methodically assembling each PPE by hand. So far, over 80 have been created in less than a week. These have been donated to the Clarke County Hospital and Clinic as well as Southern Hills Specialty Care.

Because it takes roughly an hour to create a single frame on the 3-D printer, the couple started looking at other options that could speed up the process. With some research, they found a design to laser-cut frames from wood. After consulting with their daughter and son-in-law, who are both doctors, they made a few modifications and customizations and started producing their own, custom, PPE face shields.

“The issue we were running into is that the shields were fogging up or didn’t allow room for eye glasses,” said Dave Lyden. “So, we made a few modifications, adding vent holes along the top and making the frames just a little longer. We’re hoping to distribute between 100-200 face shields all together.”

One personal touch was added by the Lydens: the phrase “Heroes Shielding Us” has been laser-cut into the front of the wooden frames, reminding all the care providers and health care workers how much their efforts mean and how appreciated they are.

“We are so grateful to all of the healthcare workers at the hospital, the care center, and all the ancillary locations around Clarke County,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation. “And we couldn’t be more proud of our community, always stepping up and working together when times are tough.”

So, next time you see the Lydens or visit one of the many local companies who have pitched in for this project, be sure to say “Thank you” for their donated time and effort.

If you have questions or would like to help with materials or production of the PPEs, please reach out to Mr. Lyden and his wife through his school email, [email protected].

This article was first published on http://clarkecountylife.com.