MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Westlake High School graduate Frank Chietro was part of a national story last week when he and his fellow Siena College students helped change 5-year-old Jack Carder's life for the better.
Siena sophomore Chietro is a member of the school's Enabling the Future, or e-NABLE, chapter, which uses volunteers' design skills and 3-D printers to create prosthetic hands for those in need. He credits his interest in physics and "the way things work" to WHS teacher Mary Newell.
Chapter founder Joe Fairley emailed Chietro to gauge his interest in joining e-NABLE, and since he was taking a course that combined design work and 3-D printing, he signed on. There are about 4,000 members of e-NABLE nationwide.
The team traveled to Ohio to present Carder with his very own Iron Man hand, complete with LED light, on April 20. The group attended the next night's Columbus Clippers baseball game as a guest of the team, and Carder threw out the first pitch.
“The entire family was there: Jack, his two sisters and his parents. We went out to lunch prior to the game so Jack could try out the hand, have a run-through and see if it fit,” says Chietro.
It was a relief to find that the hand fit, as the group was going off measurements sent by Carder's parents. Thirteen volunteers comprise Siena's team, and it took three months of 20- to 30-hour weeks to put the hand together.
Chietro designed the light circuit and casing for its attachment, ensuring it was safe for Carder to wear.
“He thought the light attachment was the best part,” Chietro notes.
Their next assignment is already in progress, as plans are to create a hand for a New Orleans resident.