MCCC to make PPE, helped by employee donations

MCCC employees banded together and donated money for the construction of personal protective equipment on campus.

Michael Reaume, an ASET technician, displays one of the face shields he has constructed on campus. The shields and other PPE constructed will be sent to local entities to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. — Photos courtesy of Michael Reaume

Linda Tobert, director of Human Resources, said over 40 MCCC employees volunteered to take personal payroll deductions for the resources needed to make face shields, which will be donated to local health care workers.

Erika Hunt, human resources assistant, said around $3,540 was raised.

“(There was) literally 24 hours notice to get in payroll,” Tobert said in an email. “I was quite impressed with the response.”

Vicki LaValle, a Culinary Arts technician, was one of the employees who volunteered.

“I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the cause in this small way,” LaValle said. “This gives us an opportunity to support our coworkers and those working on the front lines.”

LaValle said she believes people want to help those who are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic but are not sure how to go about it.

“Every bit helps save lives,” she said.

Parmeshwar Coomar, dean of Applied Science and Engineering Technology, said the college is working with Monroe High School and a local group of volunteers to produce and distribute the shields when assembled.

Michael Reaume, an ASET technician, and Troy Elliot, assistant professor of product and process technology, are the ones making PPE on campus.

“I’ve been here pretty (much) most days now the past three weeks,” Reaume said.

After being asked to work remotely, Reaume said their division saw the opportunity to use tools available on campus to make the equipment.

He said the college is making roughly 15 face shields per day using their two 3D printers.

With the partnership between the college, Monroe High School and others in the community, Reaume said around 300 shields are being made per day.

Reaume said despite the limited number the college can produce, the machines on campus are professional grade, allowing them to create high-quality shields that will last for a long time.

The face shields created will be donated to area hospitals and emergency personnel.

Reaume displays the door handle opener he has created.

Coomar said some of the welding shields already on campus were sent out.

“Due to demand, we also diverted some of our welding shields, 30 pre-manufactured via Baker Gas, to a hospital in Livonia,” Coomar said. “An additional 20 were delivered to the sheriff’s department.”

Shields have also been sent to Monroe County Opportunity Program (MCOP), St. Vincent Hospital and soon will be sent to ProMedica Hospitals in Toledo.

The high demand also includes the materials needed to make the shields, Coomar said.

“A lot of the stuff we want is also what others want,” Coomar said. “Elastic bands are in short supply.”

Despite the demand, Coomar said the college is expecting a delivery of supplies soon.

The ASET division is also constructing other equipment to help local entities.

“We are making other items such as mask adjusters for those that are wearing masks for a long time and door handle openers,” Coomar said.

Reaume said the door handle adapters allow doors to be opened using a person’s forearm and they are working on making “foot pulls” for hands-free opening of doors.