OKOTOKS, ALTA. -- A Christmas present a young boy received is allowing him to give back to the people fighting to protect southern Albertans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owen Plumb of Okotoks is using the 3-D printer he got under the tree two years ago to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers.

"Probably the best present I got that year and it’s kind of a gift that keeps on giving ," said Plumb.

The 13-year-old sprang into action when Czech Republic organization Prusa Research posted the instructions online and called on anyone with a 3-D printer to help. 

The Okotoks teen made more than 100 shields in a matter of days, carefully storing them in plastic in his family’s home, while awaiting Health Canada approval in order to distribute the PPE.

"There’s an application process that you gave to go through," he explained. "They’re doing their best to make sure everybody gets through as fast as possible but we know that it will take some time."

In the meantime Plumb is continuing production.

"To print one it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes."

A GoFundMe campaign is raising money to help cover the cost of materials for people including, Plumb, who aim to build more than 3,000 plastic shields for healthcare personnel in the Foothills area of Alberta.