Borough man uses skills to help essential workers

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A homemade mask Naugatuck resident John Freire is making to give away. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — A borough resident is taking matters into his own hands to help protect health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Freire is making face shields at his home to donate, but he is struggling to find materials to continue his production.

“I’ll buy it,” Freire said. “I’m having trouble finding materials in stores.”

Freire, a 69-year-old retiree, is making the face shields from a see-through Mylar plastic roll. Freire used to own the local business called Mr. Fix, where a customer gave him the roll years ago.

“Me being an old manufacturing engineer and looking at the roll, I could do something with that to help,” Freire said.

Freire uses headbands and weather stripping to complete the face shields. The headbands were his wife’s idea, he said.

Freire said he’s donated face shields to some neighbors who work in nursing homes and gave some to Saint Mary’s Hospital and Naugatuck Ambulance.

“I wanted to try to do something to help the cause,” Freire said.

Although the face shields are homemade, Freire said they are still useful.

“If they get it, it’s better than nothing,” Freire said.

Freire said he plans to make as many face shields as he can — he estimates he can make about 200 with the plastic he has — but he’s in need of headbands and weather stripping.

Anyone who wants to donate headbands or weather stripping can contact Freire at 203-729-0197.