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.”