Austin Horton, a Grade 9 student from Georgetown District High School, is using his personal 3D printer to make dozens of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help medical professionals stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Austin read about the need for PPE on social media in early April, he didn’t hesitate to fire up his 3D printer at home to start making plastic face shields.
“I found the design online and slightly adjusted it for my printer,” he said. “It feels good to be doing this. I’ll keep doing this for as long as we have materials and it’s necessary.”
He has printed 80 shields so far. Each one takes about an hour and he prints around a half dozen a day. Austin leaves the PPE in a sealed bag at the front of his home and it is picked up by St. John Ambulance twice a week. He says the shields are being distributed to non-hospital medical professionals.
Michael Gallant, Principal at Georgetown District High School, said Austin’s PPE effort brings important hope to the local community.
“Like the residents of Georgetown, GDHS students and staff look for ways to support and improve their community and are committed to the success of all,” he said. “It is this dedication to the welfare of others that makes Georgetown such a special place. Find a way to do something that helps others and you will spread the hope and positivity that will get us through this challenge.”
Austin’s parents Krista and Shaun are very proud of their son’s effort to help people during these challenging times.
“Austin has always been very generous with his 3D printer,” Shaun said, noting he has made items to sell to fundraise for charities. “When it comes to helping others, he is always willing to assist wherever he can.”
“As soon as he was advised of the call for help, Austin offered to help immediately,” Krista said. “We thank (frontline workers) for taking time away from their family and friends to care for those who are not well and unable to have their families with them.”
Tim Bauer, Executive Director of St. John Ambulance, Halton-Hamilton Region, is grateful for Austin’s effort to help.
“The incredible work (Austin) is doing will go a long way toward ensuring public safety in this time of crisis,” Bauer said. “St. John Ambulance sincerely thanks him for understanding the need for PPE and for choosing to make an impact in the Halton community during a time of such great need in the battle against COVID-19.”