Sixteen-year-old pilot TJ Kim was honored by U.S. President Donald Trump for launching his own mission to deliver medical supplies and aids to rural hospitals.
President Trump on Friday (local time) honored five individuals including Kim for their volunteerism in a presidential recognition ceremony titled “Hard Work, Heroism, and Hope.” In particular, the U.S. president complimented Kim’s good deed, saying, “TJ has flown and delivered more than 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment. That’s a lot of flying too. And there can be no better preparation for flying the military planes.”
Kim, a sophomore at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, said in his acceptance speech that the journey got him learning two lessons: One is that you are never too young to think about how to serve others in times of need and the other is that it takes a community to serve the community. “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’ve realized just how undeserving I am to be here,” the Korean-American said. “As long as there’s a need and as long as I can find the PPEs and fly them to rural hospitals, I’m going to do it.” Around of applause was given to his volunteer spirit.
Kim’s longtime dream has been to become a naval pilot, for which he has long taken pilot training sessions to get a pilot license. With U.S. restrictions on movement fully in place in March, Kim’s school has been also closed. The school told its students to continue their studies home but engage in something good to others.
In response, TJ Kim decided to help small rural hospitals that were struggling to deal with lack of medical aids due to the increasing number of COVID-19 patients. With the help of a flight instructor, he flew a light aircraft to deliver 8,000 medical gloves, 400 masks, 2,000 head covers, 1,500 shoe covers, 400 masks and hand sanitizers, which were sourced by schools, churches and the community.