By Michelle Davis, past president of the Rotary Club of New Albany, Ohio, USA, and an assistant governor in District 6690
Wash your hands. Wear face masks. Self-quarantine. COVID-19. Pandemic. Whoever thought these phrases or words would become part of our everyday life!
As a Rotarian, I know we are “problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change.” When our District 6690 leaders communicated an opportunity to use a district grant in response to the global COVID-19 crisis, I knew we needed to jump in. But how? What impact could we make in our community using a district grant?
The Rotary Club of New Albany, Ohio, proceeded to submit a grant proposal to purchase a 3-D printer for Form5 Prosthetics to increase their production of the re-usable face shields for first responders and medical professionals. Form5 Prosthetics is no ordinary non-profit organization. The young CEO and innovator, Aaron Westbrook, was a newly inducted Rotarian with big ideas and a big heart. Form5 is also near and dear to the hearts of our community.
In true Rotary fashion as People of Action, our club rallied to not only respond to the pandemic but to also support one of our own. I’ll let Aaron tell the rest of the story:
Although I have only been a Rotarian for about four months, I feel like I have been a Rotarian my entire life. I have always had the heart to serve others and to give to my community. I was inducted roughly two weeks before COVID-19. I made it one of my goals for 2020 to serve my community in a new way, beyond my work at Form5 Prosthetics. I believe that Rotary is the way to connect those with voices in your community – “the do-gooders” — and together make a collective impact, especially in a time of need. And that’s exactly what Rotary has proven to be for me.
That collective impact is something that inspires me to get up in the morning and drives me late into the night working. It is what has made all the impossible things in my life possible. As following executive orders, health guidelines, and stay-at-home orders became our normal, our team at Form5 could not help but follow the innovation happening overseas by makers and engineers stepping up to provide PPE in a dire shortage. In just four days, our board and committee members designed and 3-D printed a re-usable face shield to protect the eyes and airways of those on the front lines of the pandemic.
Three months later, we have now produced 5,000 face shields with a goal of 10,000 to donate to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We pivoted our work to print our face shield design – leveraging our creativity, passion, and idle printers due to not being able to work with recipients. This expansion of our impact could not have been possible without community organizations like The Columbus Foundation and The Rotary Club of New Albany, Ohio, and others that funded our production of face shields – providing additional 3D printers, materials, supplies, etc.
The health and safety of our team, recipients, and volunteers remain at the forefront of our work going forward and we have been mindful of the service of our Rotarians in our face shield production.
We were happy to begin pick-up and drop-offs of supplies in June – allowing Rotarians to assemble shields and bring back to Form5 to sterilize and distribute to those on the front lines.
The Rotary Vision is more than just a statement – it is who we are! “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
Learn more about Form5 Prosthetics’s COVID-19 PPE efforts