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Extraordinary Citizenship: Todd & Patti Duffett

Meet Todd & Patti Duffett who went above and beyond the role of citizenship to do the impossible.

July 26, 2020Art + Sculpture
Extraordinary Citizenship: Todd & Patti Duffett

"There are many many generous and creative people out there that are willing and able to help."-Todd Duffett

Tucked between the Michigan mainland and the Canadian countryside there is an island on the Detroit river, called Grosse Ile. When COVID-19 hit and brought metropolitan areas to a grinding halt, something extraordinary happened on that little island. Longtime residents of Grosse Ile husband and wife team, Todd and Patti Duffett, watched as COVID-19 swept across the country. As the number of cases grew, so did their concern for their friends and family working on the frontlines in hospital and clinics.

When the news of the PPE shortages hit the headlines, Todd, an engineer by trade and a tinkerer at heart, looked at his 3D printer and knew it could help. Todd started researching ways they might be able to do something and discovered Budmen's face shield files. While the massive factories 20 miles north slowly struggled to get their relief production up and running, Todd started producing shields immediately. Reaching out to their family to help, their niece set up a Facebook page: "Operation Face Shield - Downriver" to help connect their grassroots effort to those in need. Like the current of the Detroit River it took off.

Todd and Patti worked around the clock for months fulfilling requests, running their 3D printer non-stop both day and night. They didn't sleep, listening to the news at 4am while the printer kept buzzing and they kept assembling. The Duffetts seemingly couldn't put shields together fast enough to meet the demand. “We literally worked around the clock printing, cutting, gluing, packaging and shipping and seemed we would never catch up,” said Todd.

As they sent shields out into the world, word spread and the requests increased. EMTs and Doctors, and other small health care facilities who had limited resources all asked for this critical supplies. In the several months it took the big industries to get setup, Todd and Patti's "Operation Face Shield - Downriver", delivered hundreds of face shields when they were needed most. The duo are proud to have helped their own friends and family among the countless others they helped protect, many of whom they may never meet.

The Duffetts are the modern incarnation of a proud history of civic duty here in the United States, one that stretches back to the founding of the country. Todd and Patti using their ingenuity, tools and resources available to them to help protect their fellow citizens in a time of crisis when resources were scarce and big industry was unable to come to the rescue. Their quick response and clever use of technology is an example of 21st century citizenship.

To learn more about Todd + Patti:

Visit Operation Face Shield Downriver Facebook.

Colorful 3D printed face shields from Operation Face Shield - Downriver.
Thank you notes from Operation Face Shield - Downriver included with face shields.
Todd Duffett assembling face shields for Operation Faceshield - Downriver.
Operation Face Shield - Downriver delivered face shields to GI Urgent Care.