A Florida teacher is doing his part to help healthcare workers amid a PPE shortage because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical professional and government leaders have talked about the scarcity of medical equipment in the last few weeks because of the burn rate caused by potential coronavirus patients.
A Manatee County School District technology teacher was scrolling through social media nearly two weeks ago when he saw a post from his neighbors asking for them to step up and donate any PPE’s that can be used by healthcare workers.
That’s when Adam Nowicki took matters into his own hands.
“I initially tried to do face masks but sewing is not my strength,” said Nowicki.
Nowicki did a lot of surfing on the web before 3D printing his first face shield. Since that moment, he’s now printed more than a hundred of them.
“I went from producing anywhere from ten to sixteen a day. To now I’m just over 40,” said Nowicki.
He has given them to local hospitals and has had requests from other areas like St. Petersburg, Sarasota and even Chicago.
“It’s so overwhelming to know that every little bit we’re doing is potentially helping save a life,” said Nowicki.
Nowicki says once more requests came in, he realized he needed more printers. Thankfully area schools within Manatee County District stepped up to help. He now has five 3D printers.
A project that started out of pocket and has now become an all hands-on deck operation.
“I’ve had people donate Amazon gift cards and I just apply it to the cart. When I order more elastic, I apply it right to that,” said Nowicki.
Each print takes about two hours, but production turn around takes a few hours considering he’s doing more than printing during this time of working from home.
He’s also doing virtual schooling within the district and home schooling his children too.
His children and wife, who is also a teacher in the Manatee County School District, are also helping make the face shields. It’s become a workshop of sorts at their home.
“They know what they’re doing is important work and it’s part of giving back,” said Nowicki.
Outside of their home Nowicki says he put a call out to other teachers in the district.
“The cool thing is when you do the right thing so many people are on board with it. It’s an easy sell when it’s the right thing to do,” Nowicki.
He says there are other teachers at Louise R. Johnson Middle, R. Dan Nolan Middle, and Braden River Middle helping in the mission.
“Everyone’s kind of trying to jump in and help the fight,” said Nowicki.
Nowicki recorded a YouTube video on how he makes the face shields in hopes that more people with 3D printers will also be able to do their part to help healthcare workers across the country.