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Great things happen when a community comes together, especially to help keep students safe.
“We try to do everything we can to help our kids,” said Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of the St. Mary’s County Public Schools, as he excitedly accepted the donation of protective equipment from the volunteers at The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum on Friday morning. Dr. Smith noted that the school system has been stockpiling safety equipment such as masks, but the delivery will ensure an added layer of safety with a face shield for every teacher and staff member working in a public environment.
As a first installment, 1,230 face shields and ear saver devices were produced by the “Southern Maryland Agile Response Team” group of volunteers, sponsored by the museum. The SMART group and Pax Museum are set to manufacture and provide another 500 face shields for the school system within the next few weeks.
SMART volunteers have been creatively using resources at home and throughout the community to make the protective equipment as SMART volunteer team lead Tom Rogers notes “This has been a widespread effort and we would not have been able to produce this volume without the support of the museum, the St. Mary’s County Public Library, and especially Northrop Grumman Corporation.” Sara Stephenson, the Virtual Services Coordinator for the library has had the library’s 3D printers running almost nonstop to make headbands for the face shields the team provided. The Pax Museum received a grant from the Northrop Grumman Corporation to be specifically used for the effort. Museum Administrator Amy Davis has been working closely with the volunteers to administer the grant, which so far has enabled the museum to purchase four 3D printers and other supplies, almost doubling the number of face shields produced. Rogers and the rest of the volunteers are extremely thankful to Mr. Scott Stewart of the Northrop Grumman Corporation for the grant and to Ms. Davis for handing the application and funding.
The SMART team and the museum expect to continue the Faceshield production efforts for as long as the needs of the local community are present.
The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization and receives no sustained funding from federal, state, or local governments.
To keep up to date on SMART team progress, join the Facebook Group.