Big-hearted Rotherham gas engineer Gary Stankiewizc has turned personal disappointment into vital help for local NHS and care staff.
Covid-19 dashed a long-awaited sunshine holiday for Gary and his family. But instead of lamenting his thwarted plans, Gary, who works for local gas network Cadent, decided to use the time to make much-needed face shields for free for NHS staff, paramedics and care home workers battling the pandemic.
With £100 of his own money, raw materials bought from Amazon, and a home 3D printer, perched on the breakfast bar in his kitchen, the 38-year-old has so far churned out 250 of the desperately-needed face visors.
Gary connected with a local Facebook group that is organising distribution of the face shields. Beneficiaries include Rotherham Hospital, a care home, a local pharmacy and paramedics.The visors help to protect medical and care staff from Covid-19 while treating patients who have the illness.
Gary said: “I wanted to do something to help NHS and care staff who are doing such a great job under difficult circumstances. I started doing some research and discovered a whole online community of people across the world making face shields using 3D printers.
“I’ve always loved gadgets so I decided to put my own 3D printer into production. My first visor took two-and-a-half hours to produce but with some tips and advice from the online community, I’ve managed to cut that time down.”
Now Gary’s printer works from dawn until dusk producing the vital protective equipment. With the cost of raw materials for the visors having more than doubled since the Covid-19 outbreak, Gary set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to help with costs and has so far raised £265.
Anyone who wants to donate to Gary’s page can go to:
“I’m really grateful to everyone that’s donated. I want to keep making the visors for as long as they’re needed,” he added.
Lead engineer Gary, who repairs and maintains South Yorkshire’s underground gas network, is one of Cadent’s force of key workers, keeping the gas flowing to residents and businesses and keeping people safe.
Darren Elsom, Cadent’s Director of East Network, said: “This is an amazing initiative by Gary. It’s typical of the generous and thoughtful response of our staff to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have people across the region volunteering to help the most vulnerable at this difficult time and to support the NHS, carers and others in the frontline of the pandemic. I’m so proud of Gary and of all our staff.”
He added: “We know that people rely on us to keep them warm and safe and, as key workers, our staff are on the frontline doing just that. We will continue to deal with gas escapes and deadly carbon monoxide.
“However, we are taking additional precautions to keep our customers and our staff safe, especially if we have to go into people’s homes. You can find out more on our website at https://cadentgas.com/coronavirus