In light of the current COVID-19 situation, the COEDC is thankful to all the local businesses that are going above and beyond in supporting the community. Thank you Turtle Bay IT Services for your leadership.

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Wearing a mask around your ears for 12 hours straight can cause some serious irritation. That’s why a local business wanted to help provide some relief; Turtle Bay IT Services is using their technology and 3D printer to make and distribute free ear guards for frontline workers. 

The Lake Country-based business started making these free guards just under two weeks ago and have already provided 100 ear guards to essential workers. 

"It’s a way of giving back and it's personal for us, especially Craig, his wife is a nurse. Why wouldn’t we want to help out,” says Johnny B. Good, president of Turtle Bay IT Services.

He says helping out was an easy decision. 

“Although my wife’s a nurse she had never mentioned how the masks hurt the ears after a while, so I printed one and showed it to her and said, ‘would you like this, do you think it would be helpful?’ and she’s like, ‘yeah, I’ll try it out,’” explained Craig Verburgh, vice president of Turtle Bay IT Services. 

After trying out the first guard, Verburgh’s wife said the relief it provided was fantastic.

He explains how prior to the pandemic, there wasn’t much of a need to wear a mask, especially for a whole shift. But now, the ear guards are in high demand and appreciated by front line healthcare workers. 

The guards are free to anyone who wears a mask for a long period of time. 

“It’s not just for nurses, it’s all the frontline workers, even people who are working in the grocery stores… you’re coming in contact with to just as many people, if not more, because it’s not as sanitized as a hospital,” explains Good.  

“For less than fifty dollars we can make hundreds of these and it just happens while we’re working anyways,” said Verburgh, as he pointed to the 3D printer set up behind him making the guards as he spoke.

“We don’t want to make money off of a pandemic,” adds Good. 

It takes two and a half hours to make seven guards, which are made from polylactic acid (PLA), a plant-based material that is also biodegradable. 

They have a basic design and three superhero versions — Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman — which Good contributes his love of comics and him considering frontline workers heroes.

The free ear guards have been picked up by healthcare workers throughout the Okanagan. If you’re in need, contact Turtle Bay IT Services. Best way to reach out to them is through their Facebook Page.

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