Ear-resistible urge to help

3rd grader aims to comfort health care workers


Nine-year-old Jackson O'Connell knew that healthcare workers were working hard as the coronavirus continued to spread and fill hospital corridors with patients.

He also knew that the strain on their ears from the tight elastic bands of their masks was painful. So painful that he colorfully describes it as comparable to having their ears “chopped off.”

The Gulf Shores Elementary School third grader simply couldn’t let that continue to happen.

So, he is on a mission to make the masks of every healthcare worker he can reach more comfortable as they fight the battle of a lifetime.

Jackson, the CEO and sole employee of Jax Bag Tags, normally prints custom key chains and book bag tags on his trusty 3-D printer. Now, he has shifted to printing ear guards all day, every day.

The simple devices stretch across the back of the head and have a series of branches to hold the elastic in place, giving ears a much needed break. Many are emblazoned with the word “Hero” in the center.

“I like to know that I’m helping people. I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone,” Jackson said. 

With a little help from his biggest investors, mom and dad, Jackson now has three printers cranking out the ear savers. It takes just over an hour to print a set of eight on one printer. So far, Jackson has crafted and shipped out 600 ear savers.

And, Jackson says proudly, he has them available in all colors.

So far, they have been a hit with the healthcare workers he has donated to.

“They really like them,” Jackson said. “They used to call them ear guards but now they want us to call them ear savers.” 

Currently Jackson has a list of more than 1,000 healthcare workers who have requested an ear saver and Jackson is printing as fast as his machines will allow.

“We will print all day so everyone has one,” he said.

To make a donation to help with the cost of printing and shipping them to healthcare workers or to request an ear saver visit jaxbagtags.com