CORONAVIRUS: STRONGER TOGETHER

Pilots Delivering Supplies To Hard-Hit Navajo Nation

Jun 3, 2020, 8:43 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A group of 50 pilots took off Wednesday to deliver essential items to the Navajo Nation, which has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The pilots took off for San Juan County in small, privately-owned aircraft from the Salt Lake International Airport at approximately 7 a.m. The planes were loaded with food, learning aids, and personal protective equipment.

“We are taking food and PPE and toilet paper,” said Michael Warlde, who is a member of the organization Backcountry Santa Pilots. “All the supplies you need in an emergency are the kinds of things we’re providing.”

Pilots will also be flying in supplies from California, Colorado and Texas, according to a statement from one of the organizers.

The Navajo Nation, which encompasses portions of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, is one of the hardest-hit areas in the state. There have been a total of 5,533 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 252 deaths so far, according to numbers reported June 2.

The items being flown to San Juan County were gathered by several groups, including the Utah Bar Association – Indian Law Division, Utah Juvenile Justice System, Utah Division of Child and Family Services, and other private groups.

Supplies will be flown to Navajo Mountain, Montezuma Creek and Blanding.

“It feels really wonderful to be able to support a community that is in need,” Wardle said. “General aviation is an incredible tool to be able to help people.”

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Pilots Delivering Supplies To Hard-Hit Navajo Nation