Joliet Junior College has been helping to get critical personal protective equipment to health care workers combating the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Employees with JJC's Health and Public Services Department last week donated face masks and other supplies to local health care facilities, according to a news release.
The college is also beginning to produce mask shields using its 3D printers, which will significantly extend the life of facial masks.
JJC nursing professor Gina Hulbert said when she heard the supply of protective equipment at Morris Hospital was running low, she turned to her colleagues at the college to see if they could donate some of their supply. Hulbert used to work at Morris Hospital and it's where her students conduct clinicals.
“The employees at Morris Hospital are like my second family, and I am so thankful to be part of an organization that was willing to help them out," Hulbert said in the release.
Last week, JJC employees collected gloves, masks, sanitation wipes, isolation gowns and plastic goggles to deliver to medical facilities in Morris, Joliet, New Lenox and Plainfield.
Tom McCullagh, a small business owner from Shorewood, also reached out to JJC to see if he could help make mask shields using 3D printers. After reaching out to various hospitals who said they would like the help, he contacted JJC Vice Chairwoman Maureen Broderick because he knew about the college's MakerLab which housed multiple 3D printers.
MakerLab Manager Debra Daun went to work making the shields. They take about 40 minutes to complete with the PETG3D printing filament.
“The collaboration has been quick, decisive, efficient and effective," McCullagh said in the release. "I cannot stress how impressed I have been with the responsiveness of JJC in wanting to help the community."
JJC students studying architecture, engineering or orthotics and prosthetics technology use the 3D printers and other MakerLab equipment to hone their skills. It's also open to the community.