The New England Patriots may or may not play football this year, but their team plane is playing a vital role in America’s life-or-death fight against the coronavirus.
The Patriots team plane is being used to transport 1.2 million N95 masks from China, to the United States.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the purchase came about after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker asked the Patriots for their help in acquiring the masks.
“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said. “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.”
The Kraft family also pitched-in financially, by paying $2 million of the costs associated in acquiring the masks. Initially, 1.7 million masks were ordered, but the plane could only fit 1.2 million. The remaining masks will be flown over on a subsequent flight.
“It is an honor for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission,” Kraft said in a statement. “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. Multiple organizations across the public and private sectors, all of which were in lockstep with Governor Charlie Baker’s visionary leadership, worked together to execute this mission with the purpose of helping save lives.
“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.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker thanked the Patriots for their efforts:
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
“Of the total, 300,000 masks have been pledged to New York state, which has the most coronavirus cases in the country with more than 83,000,” ESPN reports. “Massachusetts has more than 7,700 coronavirus cases and more than 120 people have died due to the virus.”
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn