VCU grad student making face shields to help combat PPE shortage

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A VCU student is using a 3D printer to make face shields for health care workers in central Virginia. It’s another example of how people are getting creative to solve the personal protective equipment shortages seen around the country. 

VCU Master’s student Adam Gainer, volunteer Etienne LaVallee and their team of volunteers were in action on Tuesday afternoon. They’ve spent endless hours printing, sewing, packing up, and delivering the shields to health care facilities, including facilities in two different indigenous populations.  

The group recently delivered boxes of shields to facilities in the Pamunkey Indian tribe out of King William county. The group told 8News they’re offering the shields to any local healthcare workers in need. 

After reaching out to different health care facilities, “the response was, you know the Native American clinics and tribes are suffering right now,” Etienne LaVallee said. “They’re facing potential cultural extinction that that’s something that really opened our eyes. We said, you know if we’re gonna do this, we do this to save lives and this is a place where we can definitely save lives right now.”

LaVallee said each shield now takes about a minute to make. 

“Every single second has been worth it. Seeing the outpour of support and people that these products are in the hands of, they’re so appreciative,” Gainer said. “We’re not doing the hard work, they’re doing the hard work. We’re the ones just helping stay up and stay in the fight so to speak.”

They’re all made with donated materials and we’re told they will run out within two weeks. 
If you want to volunteer or donate materials, reach out to Etienne LaVallee at Jelavallee@gmail.com.

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