Protective masks and face shields have been in short supply for healthcare workers, but neighbors in Scripps Ranch are using modern technology to make the shortage a thing of the past.
They're using their 3-D printer to make face shields and handing them off directly to the workers who are face to face with the deadly disease.
“We know there’s a need,” said Jacqueline Fisk. Her husband Jarrod Fisk's printer has been working overtime.
The Fisks are part of the hundreds of volunteers who are in on the action.
Bob Ilko has been coordinating and spearheading the effort to get healthcare workers the protection they need from his Scripps Ranch home.
“We've helped 16 different hospitals with face shields so far," Bob Ilko, noting some of those hospitals are out of state.
The mission started three weeks ago with delivering N-95 masks.
And while his team still distributes masks, shields became their focus a week ago when someone told him they can be manufactured from home with a 3-D printer.
Now there are 25 volunteers from the Scripps Ranch area and neighboring communities who are helping to save lives, Ilko said. Some are donating their time to help make the shields and others donating money and supplies.
“What we basically say is every shield we make protects and saves a life," says Ilko.
Making the shields starts with volunteers like the Fisks and 15-year-old Tyler Magnuson.
Their printers are working around the clock to make the headband portion of the face shields.
“We hope this helps and that healthcare workers are able to get the supplies they need,” said Jacqueline Fisk.
Magnuson said he’s made 20 headbands so far. He drops them off at Ilko’s house where other volunteers attach the plastic shields.
“It feels good knowing they have a safety precaution at hand so they can go home safely to their families," said Magnuson.
Healthcare workers have shown their appreciation by wearing the masks and posting pictures of them on the Scripps Ranch Civic Association Facebook page, which is run by Ilko.
“It gives me chills," said Ilko. “These are people putting their lives on the line out there."
So far, they've delivered 300 of the face shields to staff at 16 hospitals here in San Diego and across the country, Ilko said.
He’s working with a fortune 500 company hoping to ramp up production.
If you’d like to help you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.