Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Operation Airdrop's soaring compassion: Volunteer pilots canvas the state of Florida with supplies for residents still reeling from Hurricane Irma

Pilot Dylan Leoni, a sophomore pre-med student at Florida State University, flies his family’s Cirrus SR22 down from Tallahassee to LaBelle, Florida, to deliver donated supplies to the rural city that is still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Irma.



As the state of Florida continues to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Irma’s violent pass, rural towns have been some of the slowest to return to normalcy.

Operation Airdrop is playing a role as a stopgap, bringing these communities much needed supplies.

Pilots from around the country are volunteering their time and aircraft to freight goods into towns where residents remained without gas, open markets or electricity. In the city of LaBelle, just inland of Fort Myers, residents are volunteering around the clock to hand deliver goods shipped in by the airborne courier relief project.   





“We’ve got so many in the outlying area, that were either flooded or with no gas, no way to get to town. So, this scenario was perfect. This filled the gap before the big trucks started coming,” said Kim Trimm, a lifetime resident of LaBelle, who worked with pilots delivering goods to the airport and helped distribute the supplies around the city to neighborhoods hit the worst by the storm.

One volunteer pilot, Dylan Leoni, spoke of his drive to help deliver goods around the state.

“It is really sad to see everyone in all of the distress that Hurricane Irma left behind. There being people donating supplies is motivation enough to get them flown places. As long as supplies are coming through the door, me and all the other hundred-something pilots that are volunteering are going to be willing to keep flying until all the supplies are out.”  

Story, video and photo gallery ➤ http://www.tallahassee.com

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