DALLAS, Ga. - It’s not quite “business as usual” at the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce — but it’s definitely busy right now. With more than a dozen 3D printers running 24 hours a day, the Chamber has become a full-fledged production plant.
“I got the call on Thursday that there was a need. We knew that we had the space here at the Chamber, we had this Community Event room that was not being used, and we quickly converted it. And within 24 hours, that first day, we had eight machines up and running,” says Chamber President & CEO Stacy Hamby.
That need was for protective face shields — vital gear for the front linen workers at Wellstar Health System.
“Wellstar was having the same issue that the rest of the country was, that the demand was higher than the supply,” says Chamber chairman Greg Perry. “They’re always the first to give to community events, so when there was a chance to give back to them, I mean, there was literally a line out the door of people wanting to help.”
Initially using donated funds from MembersFirst Credit Union and GreyStone Power Corporation, the chamber purchased ten 3D printers. Hamby says eight more came from the county’s school system. “Right away, we made an ask of the Paulding County School District, because the schools were shut down, if they would loan us the printers that were in their school system. So we had eight delivered from them.”
Now, running non-stop, it takes an hour and ten minutes for one machine to print one headband. The original request was for 2,500 bands — which the Chamber hit on Tuesday. And those efforts aren’t going unnoticed; Senator David Perdue tweeted a “thank you” to the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce, which was then re-tweeted by the official White House Twitter account.
For Hamby, Perry, and others, it’s validation that the rest of the country now knows what kind of community Paulding County really is.
“We love these folks,” says Perry of front line workers. “And these are the folks that are usually our neighbors. We live next to them. It’s our husbands, it’s our wives, we want to make sure we’re supporting them however we can.”