June 22, 2020

san jose airport takeoff

Face shields being loaded for journey at San Jose, California

Response4Life along with four non-profits, dozens of volunteers and donors and AAMI.org teamed up to fly 6,000 face shields from San Jose, California to MD, GA and NJ and subsequently deliver them to healthcare technology maintenance workers and other healthcare professionals at dozens of healthcare facilities from Michigan to New England and as far south as Georgia.

The mission, which began on June 9, 2020, took 4 days to complete and involved 9 pilots using their small private aircraft to fly the face shields from San Jose, California to Hagerstown, MD, Newark, NJ and Lawrenceville, GA with overnight stopovers and hand-offs in Norman and Moriarty, OK.

Once the cargo arrived at the MD, NJ and GA airports, medical student volunteers used their private vehicles to pickup and deliver the 1,500 lbs of face shields to hospitals and HTM workers from Massachusetts to Georgia. Everything was coordinated by Response4Life and was months in the making…

As part of their research for ventilator specifications during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Rick Brennan and Don Landwirth of Response4Life were introduced to Robert Burroughs, Danielle McGeary and Brad Schoener of AAMI.org.  The AAMI team provided pointers to ventilator information and, because of Don’s role as a Board Member of Maker Nexus, he and Robert engaged in a series of conversations around other medical devices or parts in short supply for which maker spaces around the US might be able to quickly ramp up production to fill the need.  One of those items is face shields.

At the same time, Maker Nexus had just closed its doors in response to Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place order.  Their General Manager, Eric Hess, began using the shop’s idle laser cutters and 3D printers to manufacture face shields for donation to local healthcare facilities.  Eric put out a call to other makers and it blossomed into an effort of over 600 makers, mainly in the Bay Area, but also around the US, using their personal 3D printers, laser cutters and sewing capabilities to ramp up production.  This effort led to over 53,000 face shields being produced to date, with all materials donated.  It has also inspired larger donations of materials, warehouse space, injection molding and die-cutting manufacturing capabilities to produce and additional 1.8 million face shields and counting.  This is all chronicled at www.covidshieldnexus.org.

One of AAMI’s core constituents are healthcare technology maintenance workers; professionals who find themselves alongside doctors and nurses in ICU and emergency rooms on the COVID-19 front lines.  On behalf of HTM workers around the country Robert requested 6,000 face shields from Maker Nexus and they were eager to help out. 

Don designed the architecture for Response4Life’s logistic system designed to handle requests from healthcare organizations for ventilators as well as PPE.  He was able to rally volunteers to build the system and obtained a grant from Salesforce.org to underwrite the system and host it on the Salesforce cloud.  Response4Life has also formed partnerships with other non-profits to help move medical supplies around the county.  One, AeroBridge.org, finds pilots to volunteer their planes, fuel and time to fly medical supplies and two others, GetUsPPE.org and nsrnhealth.org, rally medical students to pickup supplies and deliver them to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

hagerstown airport
Face Shields arriving at Hagerstown, MD

Says Don, “I am honored and proud to be part of this effort to help HTM workers.  I have been amazed at the generosity of thousands of people to pay for, make and distribute our Maker Nexus face shields.  Everything is sent as a thank you to the dedicated HTM and healthcare workers around the US, and we hope these will help, in part, to keep them all a little safer”.

Information about the face shields along with pictures can be found at: https://makernexuswiki.com/index.php?title=3D_printed_face_shields

Face Shields delivered to Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY