Volunteers from across the state flew into action to assist with delivering test kits for COVID-19. Three members of the Cowboy State Volunteers flew private aircraft to deliver Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 equipment and test kits across the state on April 14, 2020.
The organization is comprised of volunteer pilots who provide support for search and rescue operations, disaster relief and organ transportation.
“Wyoming has a well-deserved reputation for helping our neighbors in times of trouble,” Ken Johnston, Cowboy State Volunteers president said. “During the ‘great blizzard of 1949’ volunteer pilots, using their own airplanes delivered food, medicine, and also transported medical personnel to snowbound people across Wyoming. The Cowboy State Volunteers has been created to continue that tradition.”
The volunteers delivered 10 Abbott machines with 12 testing kits each across the state.
Heather Tottingham, Wyoming Department of Health accompanied Mike Gray, in his Twin Comanche and flew from Cheyenne to Casper with crews and transferred the equipment and kits, and then continued their flight to Gillette and Newcastle.
“I’m very grateful to the Cowboy State Volunteers. With their help, we were able to make deliveries to 10 Wyoming communities in one day,” Tottingham said. “They generously donated their time and fuel cost to help Unified Command with this important task. Mike and Ken were great to work with, and it gave me the unique opportunity to personally make sure these machines made it to their destinations safely.”
The aircraft used are provided by Wyoming pilots. “We fly our own airplanes and no one gets paid except for the fuel and oil used on a flight,” Johnston said.
Twenty pilots and five crew members volunteer their time to the Cowboy State Volunteers. The organization has 18 fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters across the state.
The flights were a joint effort among pilots and crew. Chad Kuhn (Pinedale), and Alex Heil flew equipment in Kuhn’s Cessna210 to Lander, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Kemmerer. Joe Feiler (Casper) and Dallas Chopping flew Feiler’s Cessna 177 Cardinal to deliver supplies to Thermopolis and Cody.
FEATURED PHOTO: h/t Cowboy State Volunteers – Heather Tottingham and Bill Heaster stand in front of Mike Gray’s Twin Comanche aircraft.