16-year-old pilot delivers 5,000 pieces of PPE to West Virginia hospital


BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — TJ Kim is not like many 16-year-olds. In fact, he’s not like many people.

On Sunday, the Virginia native flew an hour and a half from Leesburg, Va. to the North Central West Virginia Airport with 14 boxes containing about 5,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE). The delivery was for Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital. Chief Administrative Officer Melissa Lockwood met Kim on the runway.

“I was very happy,” Lockwood said. “I know TJ brought some supplies to Grafton a few weeks back, and so we’re very thrilled to have the supplies that he’s bringing and it’s exciting. I just think the efforts that he’s making as a young person is amazing, recognizing the need for rural hospitals.”

As Lockwood alluded, this was not Kim’s first time making a PPE delivery.

He has been delivering supplies to small and rural hospitals since March.

Kim’s father bought him flight lessons for his 15th birthday because it was always his dream to be a pilot in the Navy. With the pandemic bearing down on everyday life, Kim looked to the skies and within to come up with Supplies Over Skies, also known as Operation SOS.

“Flight training was one of the few things I have left to do and I still wanted to find a way to go out and serve in the community and there’s a lot of small hospitals hurting,” Kim said.

“After I made my first delivery, I saw how much in need people were and so that’s what has motivated me to keep going.”

Kim’s motivation to help is not insignificant.

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