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Volunteer Pilots Fly Into Action From Santa Barbara To Deliver COVID Relief To Yurok Reservation

CalDART volunteer pilots Karen Kahn and Doug Mockett prepare to load supplies from Direct Relief onto an aircraft at Santa Barbara Airport

The challenge of how to get essential medical supplies and PPE to remote parts of California is being risen to by volunteer pilots from Santa Barbara.

The volunteer pilots are transporting more than a ton of supplies to the Yurok Reservation, near Crescent City. 

Volunteers have loaded and flown privately-owned aircraft with more than 800 pounds of medical supplies since New Year’s Eve.

Tuesday will see the final load of 1600 pounds of supplies leave Santa Barbara Airport.

Karen Kahn, a retired airline pilot, is one of those taking to the skies.

"We have been loading up airplanes with supplies provided by Direct Relief. We've been loading large bins of face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers and gowns," Kahn told KCLU. 

The effort is a collaboration between the all-volunteer California Pilots Association Disaster Airlift Response Team (CalDART) and Direct Relief, the nation's largest supplier of free donated medical supplies, who have their HQ in Santa Barbara. 

"This is another wonderful example of the aviation community assisting in disasters, " said Kahn. 

Donations to CalDART may be made on their website

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award this year, and also won two further first place awards, for Lifestyle Feature and Personality Profile/Interview. Last year, Caroline won first place for Use Of Sound. She also won two Golden Mike Awards this year, for Best News Reporting and Best Entertainment Reporting, as well as a National Arts & Entertainment Award from LA Press Club for One-on-One interview. Caroline started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and she was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007. She moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and is both an American and British citizen. Caroline lives in Agoura Hills with her daughter - her proudest production.
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