TJ Kim, who just turned 16, doesn’t yet have his driver’s license, but he can fly.
So, he’s been flying across Virginia delivering medical supplies to rural hospitals in need.
Like high school students across the country, Kim was disheartened when school and activities were shut down to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
Kim, a sophomore at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, brainstormed with his family in McLean, Virginia, about ways to keep active, and to serve the community while he had the time.
They settled on Operation SOS — Supplies Over Skies.
Each week, he flies gloves, masks, gowns and other equipment to small hospitals. When he made his first delivery to a hospital in Luray, he was taken aback by the reception.
“They kind of conveyed to me that they were really forgotten about. Everyone was wanting to send donations to big city hospitals,” he told the Associated Press. “Every hospital is hurting for supplies, but it’s the rural hospitals that really feel forgotten.”
Kim’s father, Thomas, has helped round up supplies — the hardest part of the operation, according to his son.
On his most recent flight, Kim carried 3,000 gloves, 1,000 head covers, 500 shoe covers, 50 non-surgical masks, 20 pairs of protective eyewear and 10 concentrated bottles of hand sanitizer to help supply a hospital in Woodstock.
His goal is to make deliveries to all seven rural hospitals in Virginia defined as critical access hospitals.