MELFORT — Conexus Credit Union is giving $5,000 from its Kindness Capital Fund to a Melfort individual who has been printing mask straps for healthcare workers.
Brett Farley has printed over 1,200 mask straps, including approximately 100 going to Wakaw, about 100 to a Kinistino nursing home, and about 500-600 to the Melfort Hospital.
“I was honestly pretty shocked,” Farley said, recounting receiving the grant. “I didn’t even know what to say, I even asked if it was a prank call. She said, ‘No, this is real, you can go look at our website.”
Farley said it all started when his brother and sister-in-law were visiting, about a month-and-a-half into the pandemic.
“My brother’s wife is a doctor here in town. They were out visiting, and she was complaining that her ears hurt,” he said. “So she asked if I could do it, since I’ve had a 3-D printer for two or three years now.”
After finding the printer design online, he decided not just to make a set for his sister-in-law, but to make them for other local healthcare workers as well.
“My dad knows people all around who are in healthcare, my relatives are in healthcare and we basically asked them if they needed any, and I just started sending them out,” he said.
Word spread, and soon healthcare workers from not just across the prairies began contacting him.
The print takes about an hour-and-a-half for it to create five straps, but only about five minutes of that needs to be monitored – the rest can be left up to the machine.
Farley said all $5,000 of the grant is going into filaments for the printer.
“One row of filament is $25-30 and I can make 200 or 300 with one roll,” he said. “It might be a little less than that, because not every print you do comes out perfect, some are what we call a ‘scrap print’ and we basically throw those away because something happened during the print.”
When asked why he creates these, he responded, “Why not?”
“It’s super easy for me to help, I mean, I’m not going out of my way to do anything. I can still work, I can just turn it on and walk away for an hour-and-a-half. It’s so easy for me to do, it would be crazy for me not to do it,” Farley said.
“I’ve had a couple of people who have shoved some money in my pocket, and I shoved it right back, because it’s not about the money.”
If he could get one message out to the community, Farley said it would be that if you have access to a 3-D printer, it’s a super easy, low cost and low effort thing that can help a lot of people in the community.
“The people that like them really like them,” he said. “If you’re working 12 hours a day and you have those N95 masks on, your ears get pretty sore.”