LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) - A plastic molding company in Logansport wasted no time doing its part to help protect those on the front lines of the coronavirus.
"We just felt like we had to do something," said John Hopper. "We have the capability to help these people."
John and Jason Hopper are second generation owners of Hopper Development Inc in Logansport. Their dad first opened shop in 1970. The Hopper sons said their dad had no idea how big of an impact his small mold shop would have 50 years later during an unprecedented time.
"We normally make plastic components for semi-trucks," said John. Their business is considered essential right now which is why they are allowed to stay open.
When the coronavirus broke out and started spreading across the globe, the Hoppers knew it would only be a matter of time before it hit the U.S.
"It was clear to us that this could be a problem very, very quickly and then it was in early February that we started seeing some issues," he said.
The virus hit Europe hard several weeks before the U.S. John said manufacturers in Europe started putting out blue prints for how to 3D print face shields. So by early March, the company was already starting to work on prototypes. The Indiana State Department of Health announced the state's first confirmed case of coronavirus on March 6th.
It took the Hoppers' crew several tries to get the perfect shape for the face shields, but they've made it so that it doesn't require any elastics, all you do is slip it on and it stays in place on your head.
"We worked with a doctor in the final design to make it right," he said. "It took a lot of fine tuning to get the shape just right."
Their 3D printers churn out about a thousand of these molds per day. The Hoppers aren't charging a dime for their products.
"We're not charging for these at all because again we feel the need is too great," said John.
They've delivered hundreds of them to hospitals in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and to Logansport Memorial Hospital. However, it's not just health care workers they are helping
"I just received three calls today from our local fire and EMS, they need a whole lot more," he said.
Their mission has become even more important with Cass County's quickly increasing number of positive cases. The county saw more than 400 new cases between Sunday, April 26th and Monday, April 27th. It currently has more than 1,000 cases.
"These health care providers are putting their lives at risk," he said. "We've got the capabilities to make something that they can't get, so it really feels good to know that maybe we're helping in some tiny tiny way."
The Hoppers will continue to make the shields as long as supplies lasts. They said the material used for the clear shield attachment has to be imported, and is hard to come by right now. But they said they are scowering the internet wherever they can to get their hands on the material. Click here to get in contact with the team at Hopper Development Inc.