DRUMMOND – Just like the heroic figure from the Stephen Spielberg movie of the same name, Schindler’s List is again helping people survive in the face of dire circumstances.
When Drummond science teacher Darcy Schindler was contacted in March about the possibility of producing face masks for a few people during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was happy to see what he could do. After looking over several possible designs, Schindler settled on one that comfortably fit and that was being used by first responders in the Billings area.
“I had asked Darcy if he thought he could make them using his 3D printer,” said Tim Allen, Managing Editor of the Flint Creek Courier. “He made a few and then we asked Mark Ransford what he thought of them.”
Ransford, Chairman of the Granite County Board of Health, said that while the masks looked great that because they hadn’t been tested he couldn’t recommend them for use for our first responders locally. He did note that people wearing them would have some level of protection and more importantly, not transmit the infectious disease before the wearer was showing any symptoms.
Schindler worked on the masks, made a few tweaks in size and then started expanding his production.
“I made a Facebook post to see if anyone needed some of the masks and I was contacted by a friend of mine at St. Pats,” said Schindler. “I gave her 20 face shields that they could disinfect and reuse.”
The veteran teacher expanded into making face shields as well as masks for medical personnel and first responders and has begun to deliver them around the state where they are needed. He has shipped the personal protective devices around the Treasure State and is well over 100 now. Next week he will be sending 50 more units to a friend stationed on a naval vessel in Virginia.
To maintain production, current student Ezra Bolotsky and graduate Tanner Piippo have joined the cause to help keep up the production line while Schindler makes deliveries.
Recipients have offered to pat Schindler for the PPEs, but he refuses to take it. Instead, he directs them to make a donation to the Drummond Schools Science Fund. That fund was depleted when the district failed to receive 21st Century Grant monies. Schindler hopes that the donations will replenish the account allow Drummond to attend next year’s Science Olympiad in addition to other events in that discipline.