“I knew I was helping. I felt really proud.” Local teen assembles face masks and donates to local hospital

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ST. LOUIS N- He’s only 17-years-old, but a local high school student is making a big difference in the fight against COVID-19.

Devin Kancherla, a student at St. Louis Priory School, recently donated several dozen professional-grade face shields to Mercy Hospital South.

The backstory is what makes the story even more interesting.

Kancherla said he researched 3D face shields online and saw how other people were making them to distribute to health care workers.

“I wanted to be a part of that. And just see if I could do that,” said Devin Kancherlas.  “If COVID transmits to our healthcare workers, then who is going to help everyone in the hospitals? They need to be safe and healthy to help everyone else.”

Devin began to print masks on his own small, 3D printer, but soon realized that he needed equipment to produce masks at the scale and caliber as the ones used in a professional setting.

Kancherla and his father, a cardiologist at Mercy South, approached Forge Maker Space for help.

“They were really glad to team with us,” said Kancherla.

EDC Business and Community Partners also took part in the project.

The companies printed the parts, and Devin assembled the masks from home.

“I just assemble them in my free time. It doesn’t take that long.  It takes maybe, around like, four minutes. I just do that while I’m watching Netflix or something.”

Devin created more than 100 masks and recently brought them over to Mercy South.

“We met the president of the hospital. And he made sure I knew how grateful he was. It was a really proud experience for me,” he said. He was like, ‘I want you to know, that you’re saving lives.’ And I just felt – I knew I was helping. I felt really proud.”

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