Called to Serve

04.28.20 | Covid-19, Be The Church | by Sarah McCullen

Hospitals these days are battlegrounds. While doctors and nurses tirelessly tend to COVID-19 patients across the country, they’re also taking care of people with other health concerns, constantly wearing masks to try to contain the spread of coronavirus germs. The nonstop use is creating blisters and discomfort, but one Pinelake family is helping to supply relief.

Three years ago, Derek Melton gave his son a 3D printer for his birthday. For a while, they had fun printing fidget spinners and other little gadgets, but eventually, the printer wound up unused. As the coronavirus made its way to Mississippi, Derek, who works at St. Dominic’s Hospital, realized that he could use his printer to make masks supports to alleviate the stress of wearing masks for hours on end.

“They’re just little pieces of specialized plastic that clasp around the back of the head, pulling the tension off of your ears,” Derek said. “I printed a batch and took them to the hospital and people just went crazy over them.”

Word spread, and the demand for masks became overwhelming, so Derek reached out to friends who also had 3D printers to help supply the supports for hospitals all over Jackson and North Mississippi. Additionally, he partnered with Holmes Community College who has six 3D printers.

“Without the guys at Holmes who are producing hundreds, I think we’ve created probably close to 1500 mask supports,” Melton said. “People have been so quick to jump in and help, and people have given some money to help buy the plastic to make them. People have been so grateful, so we’re going to keep printing them until we no longer need them or our printer breaks.”

Derek, his wife Cindy and their two children attend our Clinton campus. When they first joined, Derek recalls being asked by leadership not if they intended to serve, but where. As a result, a servant-heartedness grew within his family, and they find joy in serving those around them.

“As the body of Christ, we’re expected to serve and meet needs in our community as representatives and ambassadors of Christ,” Derek said.

How are you serving your community in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic? Share your photos on social media, tag @pinelakechurch and let’s continue to #BeTheChurch in this season!