Trinity Lutheran student makes face shields for health care workers

Using a three-dimensional printer he has at home and the skills he learned through robotics, Preston Kovener made a product to benefit health care workers.

The Trinity Lutheran High School sophomore recently donated face shields to a health care facility in Paoli and Lutheran Community Home in Seymour. He then received a call from a local orthodontics office to make some.

“It felt good to use what I learned at Trinity and apply it to real-world applications,” Kovener said.

A good friend of his mother, Richelle Kovener, who has connections to the Paoli facility reached out to Preston because they were in desperate need of face shields to protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. When he had the face shields made, he mailed them.

His friend’s mother who is a nurse at Lutheran Community Home then let him know they could use some, too. His dad coordinated a delivery time with their administrator.

“Every Sunday on my way to Zion Lutheran Church, I drive past Lutheran Community Home. It makes me feel good to know that something I made is being used to help them and others,” Preston said.

After the facility received them, they expressed their appreciation on Facebook.

“LCH would like to thank Preston Kovener for donating face shields to our nursing staff. Preston was able to design and make these from his 3-D printer. Thanks, Preston. You’re our hero,” the post reads.

“Them saying that showed me how badly they needed the face shields, but they are truly the heroes,” Preston said. “Those on the frontline need all the help and equipment they can get. I realized I had the tools to help and wanted to.”

Preston said he got the idea to make the face shields after watching a video by 3D Printing Nerd, who made and donated face shields to hospitals that needed them.

Preston said he received his first 3-D printer for Christmas when he was 14, and he liked it so much that over the next two years, he saved money he earned from working at Kovener’s Korner in Seymour and purchased two smaller 3-D printers.

To make the frames for the face shields, he said he found the original design file from 3D Printing Nerd and printed them on his personal printers. He also had to order plastic filament spools and transparency sheets and use a three-hole puncher.

Once the first frame was printed, he said he liked the way it turned out.

“I could make one frame in two hours and at most make six frames in four hours,” he said. “In total, it was probably over 100 hours of printing, and I’ve been asked to make even more.”

So far, he said he has made more than 60 face shields.

“As long as there are requests, my printers will be making face shields,” Preston said.

Schools have been closed since March, so students have received instruction and assignments via eLearning. Preston said while making the face shields, he starts the prints as soon as he gets up in the morning so they are printing while he’s doing classes and homework.

Richelle said she is proud of her son, who is a member of the school’s robotics team, FFA chapter and band and plays soccer and golf and also is active in the Zion youth group.

“Blessed with great teachers and staff at Trinity Lutheran High School and wonderful church pastors at Zion Lutheran that have all played an important role in teaching and inspiring Preston,” Richelle said. “Glad that he has been able to help our community and surrounding communities. We need to all strive to be kind, selfless, humble and caring Christian human beings.”