This month Main Street Arkansas is profiling Hometown Heroes from our Main Street communities. One hero announced this week is from right here in Mena.
Mitch Schubbe and wife, Jennifer, are business owners in downtown Mena. Like business owners throughout the country, both temporarily closed their businesses when the pandemic began. Over the years, Mitch has been a member of Mena Downtown Partners and is now serving as vice president. In addition, he is on the board of directors of the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce.
Although his primary business consists of computer repairs and sales, he has also done some 3D printing in the past. Back in March, Mitch noted that in one of his Facebook groups for 3D printing enthusiasts, some others were asking for help printing and sending simple face masks to hospitals in another part of the country. After familiarizing himself with the process, he assumed correctly that if these were needed at hospitals outside the state, they would probably be needed in Arkansas. It was at this time that his home became a 3D printing facility. He ended up with five 3D printers which began working 24/7.
Mitch had a network of volunteers who volunteered to pick up printed parts from his front porch and take them directly to the post office, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes– wherever they were needed. He hastens to add that without the volunteers and those who contributed more supplies and money to buy supplies, he would not have been able to do what he did.
Over several weeks, Mitch printed both face masks and ear savers– almost 1500 of each. These were sent or delivered to 35 hospitals as well as clinics, police and fire departments, and nursing homes. Around the first of May, federal funding became available to provide Arkansas hospitals with needed PPE.
Mitch has kept his printers set up in the event that the number of Covid 19 cases requires his assistance again. He is very gracious in recognizing all those who donated time, money, and skills and praising the technology that made his work possible.