WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — An aspiring pilot from Virginia who has been using his training flights to deliver personal protective equipment to hospitals made a stop in Maryland on Monday.
Over the past few months, 16-year-old TJ Kim has been racking up his flight hours in a Cessna Skyhawk while helping his community and others.
“(Flying is) just something I’ve been in love with my whole life,” he said.
Kim is working toward his pilot’s license, but flying high when the world below is in turmoil simply wasn’t enough.
“I wanted a way to get my flight training going and to help out in the community at the same time,” he said.
So Operation Supplies Over the Skies was born. With his flight instructor as his copilot, Kim has been delivering boxes of PPE to rural hospitals.
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“Everyone wants to focus on the big city hospitals that need help, but it’s been the rural hospitals that have been a little forgotten about,” he said.
Monday’s delivery took him to Carroll County to deliver PPE and ventilator parts to Carroll Hospital in Westminster.
“To be able to receive this now, in the event that there would be a surge or someone in the community that looks to us for guidance, we can be the partner thanks to his help,” Garrett Hoover with Carroll Hospital said.
Kim said he was inspired to make a trip to Maryland after meeting First Lady Yumi Hogan at the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
“She kind of heard about what I was doing and so I wanted to come out to Maryland. I go to school in Maryland, I have a lot of love for this state, so I wanted to come up and help out,” he said.
Operation SOS has been flying high since March. Kim hopes to continue his mission for as long as there’s a need.
“Just being able to fly around and help out the rural hospitals has meant a lot to be,” he said.
Kim has dreams of attending the U.S. Naval Academy before one day becoming a fighter jet pilot.