“Maker’s” Unite To Meet A Crisis

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created significant challenges for many in health care and essential industries. Access to personal protective equipment has been hampered greatly by the sudden, unprecedented demand. As area businesses began reaching out to Finney County Economic Development Corporation to look for solutions, it only made sense to engage our partners at Great Plains MakerSpace. From these discussions, the Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Resource Group was born.

The Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Resource Group now boasts 258 members. The members encompass a wide variety of Makers in different categories. There are many who are active with textiles, 3D Printing, welders, and more. Together, they’ve created 2 intubation boxes, 45 protective visors, 52 isolation gowns, 130 medical grade face masks, 410 ear savers, and 1,245 reusable cloth face masks.

The group has filled requests for businesses in Garden City, Dodge City, Scott City, Liberal, Goodland, and Great Bend. Among the organizations served are Finney County Health Department, St. Catherine Hospital, Garden City High School, Garden City Community College, Scott County Health Department, Garden Valley Retirement Village, Homestead Assist Living, The Cottages, Mosaic, SunPorch, Trinity Manor, Ranch House Senior Living, and ResCare.

As Tom Walker, Chairman of the Finney County Economic Development Corporation, said “a year ago, most people didn’t know what a MakerSpace even was. After this crisis, the whole community should know about the value of having an organization like this that brings together people with a myriad of skills to create value.”

While no one envisioned Great Plains MakerSpace serving such a vital role in keeping our health care and essential industries operational and safe, it has proven invaluable. With the shortages we’re seeing globally in these essential items, turning to locals who were willing to bring their unique skills to the table has served our region well.

Shannon Dick, Chairman of the Great Plains MakerSpace Board of Directors, is very humble in responding to the accolades the group is receiving. “It’s really been all about the Makers and their willingness to volunteer their time, talents, and resources to these efforts. I just get to be the “pretty face” who organizes the deliveries,” he jokes. “Seriously though, it’s been very rewarding to see the great impact this group is making. We’re getting really close to having our physical space ready to open to the public and this momentum from the Makers of our region just proves to us even more that the MakerSpace is going to be a great quality of life enhancement for our community and our region. We’re even more excited about being able to offer this service now that we’ve seen firsthand how many people we have interested in honing their skills,” said Dick.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Response Group, please visit their FaceBook page. If you would like more information about Great Plains MakerSpace or are interested in contributing to their efforts, please contact Shannon Dick at shannonldick@gmail.com.