FOX 2 - With so many healthcare workers in need of protective gear local pilots are flying to and from Indiana securing thousands of badly needed face shields.
FOX 2 photographer Todd Brangan was able to fly along Friday. They took off from Oakland International Airport. Compared to what would have taken a day to drive - these pilots were able to get thousands of face shields back in our state and in the hands of medical professionals a matter of hours.
Cran Jones is the co-owner of Michigan Sea Plane Flight School in Pontiac, whose volunteer pilots are now coming to the rescue of our medical workers, who are tirelessly trying to save those infected by COVID-19.
"Because they are saving lives, they are walking into fire," he said. "If we can do anything to protect them, that's what we need to do."
So Jones used his ties with auto parts suppliers to start producing protective face shields for medical workers. he joined forces with Mursix Corporation in Yorktown, Indiana. In a matter of days, they came up with a prototype, retooled the plant and switched production from auto parts to plastic medical shields.
"We were able to pivot quickly 12 days go and start this process we had to shut down some of auto lines, but it seemed like a no brainer for us," said Susan Carlock, Mursix Corporation. "I was an ER nurse; I know how important it is to have the PPE. My heart was bleeding for my colleagues my friends on the front lines and I had to do something."
To save time, four volunteer pilots are flying weekly to Muncie, Indiana. Their planes transported 12,000 face shields, which will be delivered to Michigan hospitals and the medical teams working on the front lines.
Carlock says Mursix plans to produce 200,000 face shields next week and mass production of 500,000 a week after that.
"My father was a fighter pilot in WWII and I said to my wife this is a little bit of a version of our WWII for our generation. Just felt the need to help, I felt glad to have the opportunity to step up in honor of all the people who are working hard and risking their lives to take care of our friends and family."
"I am so thankful for these folks and people in Oakland County to help our first responders and heath care workers to beat this pandemic," said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter.
This comes as Coulter and other local leaders are encouraging people to wear some sort of mask or face covering if they have to leave the house. Everyone is trying to do their part as we work to flatten the curve.
"The GA community, Oakland County, the state of Michigan and our country is in world of hurt right now," Jones said. "The bottom line right now if we can do anything to help them, that is the goal."