St. John Valley

Face shields are ‘County Strong’

MADAWASKA, Maine — Valley residents who have been using their 3D printers to print ear savers — mask holders — and face shield headbands early in the COVID-19 pandemic are still at it, and now print “County Strong” on some of the headbands.

Madawaska native Jason Boucher, who works at Twin Rivers Paper Co. and is a local firefighter, got the idea to print the ear savers after seeing many complaint posts on Facebook from medical personnel.

The mask holders — made using a 3D printer — hold the straps of the mask on the back of the person’s head instead of resting the straps on the ears, Boucher said. He downloaded the file for the simple design and got to work printing off the mask holders.

Gina Jandreau, a teacher for the Madawaska School Department, received an email slideshow from Dave Perloff — who according to Jandreau has bought hundreds of 3D printers for schools in Maine through the Perloff Family Foundation — containing instructions on how to set the printer to print headbands for face shields.

Between Jandreau’s two printers and Madawaska science teacher Shanna Lagasse’s two printers, the pair were able to print more than 200 face shields, and more than 250 mask holders.

Boucher has printed more than 80 face shields and nearly 1,000 mask holders. On May 6, Boucher received a letter from state Sen. Troy Jackson thanking him for his part in helping provide personal protective equipment to local people.

“I am writing to thank you for your efforts to create PPE for local frontline workers — it’s an awesome and thoughtful idea,” the senator wrote. “The last month or two has been an unsettling and scary time for all of us. However, acts of generosity and kindness that you and other Mainers have shown are so inspiring to witness.”

Boucher said Jackson’s office even sent him a laminated copy of the original article about himself and Jandreau printed in the Bangor Daily News. Boucher is still making and giving away free of charge the face shields and mask holders — prioritizing those in the medical field.

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