The New England Patriots’ team plane, stocked with 1.2 million N95 protective masks, has just completed its return from Shenzhen, China to Boston.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker tweeted a thank you to all the forces that came together to pull it all off. “No days off. Thanks to some serious teamwork, Massachusetts is set to receive over 1 million N95 masks for our front-line workers,” wrote Gov. Baker. “Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen.”
No days off. Thanks to some serious teamwork, Massachusetts is set to receive over 1 million N95 masks for our front-line workers. Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen. pic.twitter.com/ieV6XMC5Ow
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) April 2, 2020
After being outbid by the federal government for supplies, Governor Baker figured out another way to get the personal protective equipment his state needs. He partnered with Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, and his son, Patriots president, Jonathan Kraft, who paid $2 million to purchase half of the masks and provided logistical support as well as the plane.
In a statement released by the Patriots, Robert Kraft said, “It is an honor for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission. We knew that purchasing greatly-needed N95 masks and providing the Patriots plane to expedite their delivery to local hospitals would immediately help protect our courageous healthcare professionals.”
“I truly hope that in doing so, we can in some way inspire others to find creative ways to give more in support of our doctors, nurses, and first responders. It’s nice to care for those who provide such compassionate care for us.”
Over the past two weeks, Governor Baker and the Krafts have engaged in complicated negotiations to not only secure permission to land in China amid a pandemic, but to also upgrade the plane for international travel and ensure pilots and crew would not be subject to a 14-day quarantine period upon entering China.
“I just have to get them here,” Baker told Jonathan Kraft.
“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Robert Kraft told The Wall Street Journal. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us.”
In Shenzen, the plane was permitted to ground for 3 hours where workers in full-body protective gear loaded boxes of supplies into the Patriots’ cargo hull. US crew was required to remain on board the aircraft in order to limit contact and keep both countries safe.
The Patriots’ plane landed at Boston Logan International Airport Thursday morning and will be met by the Massachusetts National Guard who will then transport the masks to a stockpile in nearby Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Baker has agreed to give 300,000 masks to New York State where more than 83,000 people are infected.
“Mr. Kraft, I forgive you for not signing Tom Brady. This is much more important to me, the N95s.” Brigham & Women’s nurses ecstatic to learn a Patriots airplane is en Route from China full of N95 protective masks for healthcare workers. #wbz pic.twitter.com/4QsGcTRDVB
— Christina Hager (@HagerWBZ) April 2, 2020
At the time of writing, Massachusetts has recorded more than 7,700 cases and 122 deaths due to the virus.
The Massachusetts Governor ensures that “Our administration will keep pursuing the PPE necessary to support our brave front-line workers who are working tirelessly to save lives during this pandemic.”