Kansas Body Shop Using GFS Paint Booth to Aid in COVID-19 Fight

Matt Rieger does not view his community service as something special. He serves on the local fire department and volunteers as a first responder. Doing good in his community is just what he does.

So, when the hospital in Rieger’s rural Kansas county faced an N95 mask shortage at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rieger was quick to lend a helping hand. Rieger worked with the hospital to decontaminate N95 masks, curing them in a Performer XD Paint Booth from Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) at his automotive body shop.

“The hospital was worried about running out of N95 masks,” said Rieger, the owner of Rieger Collision in Corning, Kansas. “My mom works at the hospital, and she knew I could cure at pretty high temperatures in the paint booth.”

Corning is a small farming town in northeastern Kansas, with a population of less than 200 — the type of place that would be hard to find on a map if you did not know exactly where to look. The family-oriented feel is why Rieger is proud to call Corning home. It is a community of people who have each other’s backs, with a willingness to help that stretches as long as a country road.

Since 2007, Rieger has performed traditional collision repair, mainly the result of minor fender benders and residents hitting deer. With COVID-19 cases steadily increasing, Rieger (and his mom) recognized a new use for his 2-year-old paint booth. He began working with the local hospital to sterilize N95 masks so they could be reused, if necessary.

To ensure the N95 masks did not degrade while in the Performer XD Paint Booth on the cure cycle, Reiger conducted a test run, placing temperature probes in the booth to verify even heat distribution.

“The hospital needs to cure the masks at 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, which is easy for us to accomplish in the Performer booth,” Rieger said.

If a second wave of COVID-19 causes an N95 mask shortage, Reiger plans to build a rack to hold the masks in the booth. He has already arranged a donation of closet rods from a lumberyard.

“We could be up and ready to go pretty much at the drop of a hat,” Rieger said. “You could stack a whole bunch of masks in the booth, and a booth cycle costs hardly anything.”

For Rieger, volunteering his time — and the use of his paint booth and body shop — for a worthy cause was a no-brainer.

“I try to help out any way I can,” Rieger said. “I don’t think I am doing anything extraordinary. It is always a good feeling when you can help somebody.”

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