BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots team plane carrying more than one million medical masks for health care workers battling coronavirus landed at Logan Airport Thursday night. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker teamed up with the Kraft family to help get the supplies from China.
Standing in a Logan Airport hangar with the plane being unloaded in the background, Gov. Baker became emotional thanking Patriots' president Jonathan Kraft.
"Honestly we can't thank you and your dad and your family enough, for answering the call and helping make this happen," Baker said. "And for the many, many dedicated front-line workers across this state who are battling COVID-19 on behalf of the people of Massachusetts every single day, this gear will make an enormous difference."
Governor Baker struck an agreement two weeks ago to acquire the critically needed masks from a "collection of Chinese manufacturers," but he had no way to get them back to Massachusetts.
So he turned to Jonathan Kraft for help. Owner Robert Kraft also got involved and so did the U.S. State Department. Special arrangements had to be made to fly to China and to allow the plane to land.
"This shipment comes at a critical time as we prepare for an anticipated surge in the coming weeks ahead. It's not a secret that securing PPE has become an enormous challenge," Baker said. "We need more, we will always need more, but what we were able to accomplish with this particular mission will go a long way forward in this fight."
The National Guard transported the 1.2 million masks from Logan Airport to a warehouse where they will be inventoried and distributed across the state. A half-million more masks will be sent next week.
In addition to helping work out all the logistics, the Kraft family paid $2 million, which came to half the cost of the masks.
Kraft and Baker also agreed to send 300,000 of the masks to New York to help with the coronavirus crisis there. A truck will leave Massachusetts Friday with that shipment.
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