When Jeremy and Suzanne Braithwaite heard the projection that there would be a shortage of tens of thousands of face shields in our community during the Covid-19 pandemic, they knew they had to get to work. Jeremy is a professor for the Manufacturing Engineering Program at Loyalist College and Suzanne is a Professor in the Nursing Program there. Jeremy says “We just thought with Suzanne’s nursing background she could work on the infection control measurements and inspections of a face shield and with my manufacturing experience I could come up with a lean process to crank these out.” A week ago they took in some prototypes to the Covid Response Coordinators at Belleville General Hospital, got one approved and the Braithwaite’s went home and made 200 that night. Now a week later the couple have delivered 3550 face shields to the community, 3000 directly to Belleville General Hospital.
But the Braithwaite’s definitely aren’t in this alone. Jeremy says “The community support we have received is incredible! Suzanne’s parents and our close friends the Switzers are processing a lot of the materials. We have received donations from many individuals businesses in the community, the Quinte Home Builders Association and The Rotary Club of Belleville to name few. Impacto donated thousands of yards of elastic. The list goes on” They are now receiving incredible support from ATESS at 8 Wing Trenton. ATESS has also started producing their own version of the shield and made an additional 189 shields on the first day.
The best part of this story – it is all being done for free. Jeremy says every cent that has been donated is going back into materials. He says “We are supplying the face shields to anyone who asks. The majority have gone to QHC but we have also donated to other organizations such as Hastings Manor, Applefest Lodge in Brighton and Kente X-Ray. We are trying to support as many on the front line as we can.”
Belleville General Hospital Foundation Executive Director Steve Cook says “We at BGHF are proud to share these stories of real ‘Community Heroes’. We are all trying to do our part to help out our front line health care workers during this pandemic.” If you wish to make a donation to help purchase Personal Protective Equipment please visit www.bghf.ca