Middletown skydiving business makes face shields for hospital, delivers with jumps

There was a special delivery of personal protective equipment at Atrium Medical Center on Saturday thanks to a wounded warrior’s idea and idled 3-D printing machines.

Tim O’Sullivan, a wounded warrior who does 3-D printing for Start Skydiving on Department of Defense projects, had the idea to use the 3-D printers to make face shields for healthcare workers.

John Hart II, co-owner of Start Skydiving, liked O’Sullivan’s idea. The 3-D printing is therapeutic for O’Sullivan and he told Hart “it saved his life.”

Hart said the skydiving business had some of the medical grade carbon materials and purchased the clear material for the face shields from Queen City Polymer in Cincinnati. Start has invested about $2,000 and with the help of several volunteers, it hopes to make between 300 and 400 face shields for the local hospital. Among the volunteers helping with the process are his son Alex and Middletown Mayor Nicole Condrey, general manager of Start Skydiving, and her parents.

Hart said it’s “amazing how much stuff is unavailable in the U.S. and the world” since the start of the pandemic.

“Americans are resourceful,” he said. “It’s an awesome thing seeing people come together and helping.”

As of Thursday, the skydivers had made 100 face shields and Hart hoped to have 100 more made by today. In addition, Condrey used her first three-month salary as mayor — $2,250 — to purchase 400 face shields for Atrium that will be delivered with the Start donation.

Hart said skydivers from Start Skydiving will deliver the face shields at 3 p.m. today at Atrium Medical Center and he expects to have another 200 face shields delivered sometime next week.

Hart said the project is from his love for the city and Atrium. He said the medical staff at AMC saved the life of his son, John Hart III, five years ago after a skydiving accident.

“I’ve always wanted to do something for them,” he said. “We’re pretty excited. It’s fun to give back to the community.”

Dr. Keith Bricking, AMC president, said the hospital has been “overwhelmed” by the generosity and support of the Middletown community during this unprecedented time. He said it means even more when you consider that residents and businesses are dealing with their own challenges, yet they are rallying to support the hospital’s staff.

“I was blown away when John reached out and shared his plan to manufacture these face shields for our dedicated team on the front lines,” Bricking said.

Bricking said he was inspired Friday as Premier Health was collecting donations from the community at drop-off locations in Middletown and West Chester. “As cars pulled up with donations – whether it was boxes of gloves or a single home-sewn face mask in a Ziploc bag – it was an inspirational reminder that Atrium is not in this fight alone. As we work to battle this health crisis, everyone makes a difference,” he said.

“Our team of outstanding clinicians is tirelessly working every day to care for our community – you, your family, your friends, your employees. And we’re immensely grateful to all those rallying alongside us – whether you’re staying at home to help slow the spread, or you’re a business, like START Skydiving, shifting operations to assemble critical PPE.”

During his Wednesday press conference, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a partnership among 19 manufacturers and three hospitals that will result in the manufacturing of between 750,000 and 1 million face shields over the next five weeks. These face shields are able to be sterilized and will be distributed across the state. This partnership was made possible by the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance and www.repurposingproject.com.

A Miamisburg business is also producing up to 75,000 face shields a week to help protect Ohio health care workers, nursing homes and EMTs from COVID-19. Laird Plastics has been producing the personal protective equipment – which health care officials say is in short supply — for about three weeks.

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