ST. LOUIS — "I just had free time with being stuck at home," said 18-year-old Ben Young from St. Charles.
Young could have spent his free time relaxing at home, playing video games or talking to friends on his cell phone, but he didn't.
"I'm proud of it. They're super simple to make," Ben said.
The "super smart" Christian Brothers College High School senior has been busy creating free, plastic, protective shields for doctors, nurses and other health care workers fighting on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I just kept saying there's got to be something I could do for those people who are out there trying to keep us safe every day," said Ben
The CBC student turned his engineering project into a community one.
Ben was inspired by his dad, Dr. Dan Young, who is a nephrologist currently treating COVID-19 patients.
Ben borrowed two 3D printers from his school and started making plastic shields.
"The headband piece takes about 30 minutes to print and each visor takes about 15 to 20 seconds to make and in less than 45 minutes, I can make a shield," Ben said.
"When you put it on it just seats pretty well on your face," he added.
The St. Charles senior designed the slick shields to keep health care workers' masks clean.
"I did a lot of research on what the CDC requirements were and everything that I needed to know to start making them and giving them to hospitals. Anything covering the masks is going to help keep it clean, so that they can use it for as long as possible," Ben said.
So far, he's cranked out 80 protective shields and he still has 200 more ready to give away.
"CBC Stem Academy, we're providing all the materials for him. Part of our mission at CBC is to serve others, and, I'm very proud of him," said Joe Henken, Ben's teacher. "Things are going well. He's just making a difference. He will be a great engineer."
A budding engineer using his own knowledge to help others.
"I'm just doing what I think is the right thing to do especially for the situation that we're living in right now," said Ben.
If you're a health care worker and you'd like one of Ben's protective shields, you may reach out to his teacher, Joe Henken at email@example.com.