Teenage Pilot Delivers PPE for Local Hospital
“I love flying,” said T. J. Kim, who at age 17, pilots a Cessna aircraft, delivering critical PPE supplies to hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak. Kim is from Northern Virginia and when his flight training facility in Leesburg, VA did not close down during the pandemic, he said, “I thought it was a really great way to tie in community service and flight training at the same time.”
Kim has also established a non-profit, Operation SOS (Supplies Over Skies). “Throughout my journeys (almost two dozen flights) and meeting more hospital workers, I’ve definitely learned a lot more about the need. Especially with rural hospitals, I’ve learned that they’ve been shutting down at a rate never seen before. I’m trying to come out here and help in any way that I can,” Kim said.
Almost a dozen boxes of PPE supplies were delivered to John Randolph Medical Center. Joe Mazzo, CEO of JRMC, was on hand to personally assist with the hand-off, and said, “It’s a a unique delivery. We’re excited, and I’m just appreciative of his efforts.” Mazzo added that it was the first time the hospital had supplies flown to them like this.
“I think this just really shows what COVID has done to us as a nation, in just supporting each other and coming out in any unique ways,” Mazzo said.
Kim has been in the cockpit since he was 15 years old and wants to continue doing these type of missions and move forward with training to obtain his private pilot’s license.