Sunday 20 September, 2020

Watch: Teen pilot flies medical supplies to rural hospitals

While nonstop global news about the effects of the coronavirus have become commonplace, so, too, are the stories about the kindness of strangers and individuals who have sacrificed for others. "One Good Thing" is an AP continuing series reflecting these acts of kindness.

TJ Kim doesn't yet have his driver's license, but he's been flying across Virginia delivering medical supplies to rural hospitals in need.

Kim, 16, a sophomore at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, turned his weekly flight lessons into relief missions where he's delivering gloves, masks, gowns and other equipment to small hospitals.

Like high-school students across the country, TJ was bummed when school and so many other activities shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In TJ's case, the shutdown ended his lacrosse season before it ever really got started.

Video credit: Thomas Kim

He brainstormed with his family about ways to keep active, and ways to serve the community while he had the time, and they came up Operation SOS — Supplies Over Skies.

The most recent flight Saturday carried 4,000 gloves, 2,000 shoe covers, 25 non-surgical masks, 20 pairs of protective eyewear and 10 concentrated bottles of hand sanitizer to Winchester to help supply a hospital in nearby Woodstock.

TJ, who lives in McLean, Virginia, says the hardest part of the operation by far is rounding up scarce supplies: "We're going to try and do it as much as possible, but really the hard part is not the flying down there or finding hospitals that are in need. The hard part is gathering the supplies."

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