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UPDATE: Shipment of MIT-designed face shields arrives in Waterloo
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UPDATE: Shipment of MIT-designed face shields arrives in Waterloo

From the Coronavirus update Northeast Iowa series
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WATERLOO – Waterloo received a shipment of protective face shields designed by a city native who now teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Some 5,000 of the donated shields were unloaded at City Hall and Waterloo Fire Rescue on Wednesday. The equipment will be going to local hospitals and firefighters to protect against possible coronavirus exposure.

“The virus is here and impacting our community at an alarming rate. These shields have arrived just in time,” said Mayor Quentin Hart. “ We are proud of Dr. Culpepper and honored that he thinks so highly of his hometown that he would make sure we have what we need to protect our front-line health workers.”

Peoples Community Health Clinic, Unity Point Allen Hospital, Harmony House and MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center will receive shares, as will Waterloo Fire Rescue and Waterloo Police.

“With the widespread shortage of personal protective equipment we value every single piece we are able to obtain,” said Christine Kemp, Peoples Clinic CEO.

“Our community truly is amazing, and we’ve been overwhelmed by offers of support that help keep our team members and patients safe,” said Pam Delagardelle, president and CEO, UnityPoint Health – Waterloo

“The ongoing acts of kindness fuel the spirit of our caregivers,” said Jack Dusenbery, president and CEO of MercyOne.

Former Waterloo resident Martin Culpepper, a professor of mechanical engineering, is part of the MIT team that developed the manufacturing technique, and he produced the first prototype in his basement with a laser cutter and the help of his children.

The single piece of transparent plastic folds to create not only the shield, but also a support headband and attachment points for an elastic band, which is included in the kit. The shield curves around to offer protection from the sides and folds upward near the chin for another dimension of safety.

Production of the equipment began in late March.

Waterloo firefighters and medics are also using protective face shields that were donated by John Deere.

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West Bend Insurance Co. recently recognized Fish-Johnson Insurance Agency in Waterloo as achieving their “Preferred” level of recognition in the company’s Preferred Partners agency awards program.

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