ATHENS — Last year Jason Gowin experienced a terrible tragedy when his wife, after giving birth to twins, suffered a stroke. In the wake of the tragedy, Gowin’s friends, family and community rallied together and raised over $18K for her recovery.
Now, Gowin has been laid off of his job as a process server in New York amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and in his down time wanted to pay forward the helping hand that his family received in their time of need. Gowin came up with the idea of using his 3-D printer, a machine that can print three dimensional tools or items, to print valves, masks, and other much needed medical equipment and give them away to those in need.
“A few weeks ago a cousin asked me if I saw Italian workers printing 3-D materials to use,” Gowin told the Review on Thursday. “I saw they were using materials that I didn’t have, I got discouraged and let it go.”
Gowin said he was spinning his wheels at home while laid off trying to think of something productive to do and found a group on Facebook called Print the Curve Flat.
“It’s fascinating the amount of information and resources I’ve gotten from there,” he said of the online community.
He learned from the group how to print headband visors that extend the life of N-95 masks and specific Charlotte valves that can help make use of more ventilators. Gowin has since made four valves and 18 visors and has organized to provide them to local hospitals, elderly care homes and other places with the need for them.
“I can’t tell you the outpouring of support we’ve received and the interest we have had in them,” Gowin said of his printed masks and valves. “We’re not charging for them obviously. So many people helped my family when we needed it, we wouldn’t have made it without them.”
“I just want to help and I have my printer,” he added. “I think in terms of what can I do? Should we have been more prepared? Obviously. We’ve become so concerned with the bottom lines. I think that we should think more in terms of taking care of people.”
Gowin plans on continuing printing as many masks and valves that he can while his materials last and as long as he can procure them. Gowin is accepting donations or 3-D printing materials and can be reached at email@example.com.