Boxes of hand sanitizer, made by Seattle Sanitizer LLC, were delivered to various Eastern Washington sheriffs’ department and other first responders. Photos courtesy Washington Air Search and Rescue

Boxes of hand sanitizer, made by Seattle Sanitizer LLC, were delivered to various Eastern Washington sheriffs’ department and other first responders. Photos courtesy Washington Air Search and Rescue

Local pilot flies hand sanitizer to Eastern WA counties

Garfield County has had trouble finding sanitation supplies, given its the sole Washington county without a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Editor’s note: The original article misreported how much hand sanitizer was delivered to Eastern Washington. Instead of 70 pounds of sanitizer, it was 70 gallons. The article has been updated.

A local Enumclaw pilot flew some much-needed hand sanitizer over the mountains to our neighbors in the east.

Tom Jensen, a board member of Washington Air Search and Rescue (WASAR) since its founding days in 1993, packed up 70 gallons of the coveted sanitizer (700 pounds total when including packaging) into his 1956 Cessna 180 on March 26 and dropped it off at the Ritzville Municipal Airport in Ritzville, WA.

“The funny thing was, when I ended up landing there, you’d think I’d robbed a bank, because there were three patrol cars and three big burly deputies — one of them looked like he was in SWAT gear and everything,” Jensen recalled in a recent interview. “Turned out they were the pickup point.”

Sheriff Drew Hyer of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said he was greatly appreciative of the delivery, which was supplied by Seattle Sanitizer LLC.

“We could not get anything… anywhere in the nation,” Hyer said of trying to locate any sort of sanitation supplies. “I couldn’t find it in the black world undermarket, anywhere… We had to wait until May or so.”

One of the reasons why Garfield County was having so much trouble obtaining hand sanitizer and other supplies is because it’s the last remaining county in Washington, as of April 27, to have no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.

“We’re fighting this fight good,” Hyer said.

According to the sheriff, the 70 pounds of sanitizer was distributed among the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Whitman County Sheriff’s office, the Asotin County Sheriff’s Office, the Clarkston Police Department, City of Clarkston Fire Department, the Garfield County Courthouse, the Garfield County Road Department, and Garfield County Fire District 1.

“I just want to put a big shoutout,” to Jensen, Hyer continued. “I want to tip my hat kudos to him, and God bless what [WASAR] did.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Sound Publishing offering matching advertisement grants

Your local paper is offering $200,000 in matching grants so local businesses can stretch their advertising budgets.

The YMCA of Greater Seattle opened its King County branches to provide child care centers dedicated to serving the families of essential workers. Courtesy photo
Child care shortage could follow COVID-19 pandemic

Around 25 percent of child care facilities have closed across the state.

Closures on I-5 in SeaTac for Federal Way Link construction

Along southbound lanes over three weeks

King County assessor wants Legislature to fix laws to help small businesses

Changes needed because of COVID-19 impact on commercial properties

Local residents — including police chief — targeted by unemployment fraud schemes

A total of 60 cases of fraud targeting city officials have been reported.

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

Answering questions about protests and COVID-19 | Public Health Insider

If you want to protest, try to stay 6 feet away from other people, carry and use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask.

DOH to Enumclaw: We are ‘committed’ to a county-by-county approach

COVID-19 activity in Enumclaw is low, but the state wants whole counties to move forward through Gov. Inslee’s reopening plan.

Most Read