Salute the Badge: A Shawnee Co. Deputy's uses his hobby to save lives

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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A Shawnee County Sheriff's deputy is creating 3D masks for hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Paul Fernkopf has served four years with the Shawnee County Sherrif's office.

"The biggest thing I wanted to bring to it was a sense of community service and I would love to do community service full time, this is the best way I can do that," Deputy Paul Fernkopf said.

Off-duty, 3D printing is among his hobbies and he believes it can now be a tool to save lives.

"Serving the community is really important to me, it's something that I want to, it's an internal drive," Fernkopf emphasized.

Fernkopf created 3D masks for health care workers.

"So trying to get as many masks made as soon as possible it's huge, and it's an undertaking I'm willing to take and the outpouring of the community is just helping that speed up that process," Fernkopf said.

Fernkopf was making a few masks a day, then, St. Francis Hospital donated two new printers for him to use pushing the project further along.

"We developed an even better process, so I'm now even curing them so it helps keep the masks more sanitary than it already is," he said.

A social media campaign also helped, drawing more than 100 donors.

"I've been able ramp up production like I wasn't even imagining," Fernkopf said.

With the additional help of the community he was able to exceede his goals.

"Along with that came a bunch of inquiries with people with other 3D printers, people who are wanting masks," he added.

Fernkopf says he hopes the community's support allows him to help not just hospitals, but also fire departments, law enforcement, and EMS.

"The outpouring on the community on this has been a motivator for me," he emphasized. "It's motivating, it's inspirational, it's inspirational on how many people are outpouring their support to this cause."

Fernkopf has delivered more than 100 masks to St. Francis hospital already.

For more information on how to help this movement,

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