A 16-year-old pilot from McLean, Virginia was commended by President Donald Trump for delivering 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to rural hospitals.
TJ Kim, a high school sophomore at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, was honored with five others on May 1 for their volunteerism in a presidential ceremony at the White House, recognizing “hard work, heroism, and hope.”
TJ Kim, a Virginia high school sophomore and student pilot, has flown thousands of personal protective equipment items to rural hospitals!
“You are never too young to think about how to help others in times of need.” pic.twitter.com/O1sg2o1JgQ
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 1, 2020
“TJ has flown and delivered more than 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment,” Trump said of Kim’s act of kindness, according to Breitbart. “That’s a lot of work, that’s a lot of flying, too. That’s great. And there can be no better preparation for flying military planes.”
In his acceptance speech, Kim said he learned two lessons during his mission, which he called Operation SOS — Supplies Over Skies. The first is that it takes a community to serve the community, and the second is that you’re never too young to help others.
“There are youth everywhere in America rising up to help sew masks, deliver groceries to the elderly and write thank you letters to our frontline workers and when I think about them I have realized just how undeserving I am to be here,” the Korean American student pilot said. “As long as there’s a need and as long as I can find the PPE and fly them to rural hospitals, I’m going to do it.”
Kim began his love of flying when his father, Thomas, who has been helping him round up supplies, bought him a lesson on his 15th birthday.
With the help of a flight instructor, Operation SOS has delivered 8,000 medical gloves, 2,000 headcovers, 1,500 shoe covers, 400 masks. Protective eyewear, isolation gowns, hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays were also included.
Feature Image via Getty