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Civil Air Patrol aids in fight against COVID-19

Special to the Enquirer  

Two members of Hartselle’s Civil Air Patrol unit recently assisted in the national fight against COVID-19.   

Kieron Butler and Ken Garner volunteered to help out in transporting test kits from the residents of Courtland to the University of Alabama Birmingham Feb. 12-13.   

As part of nationwide effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Civil Air Patrol has been supporting national, state and local officials in getting COVID testing kits to and from testing sites. Deliveries of these kits have helped out immensely in the rural areas of the nation, according to officials.   

Since Civil Air Patrol’s formation during the earliest days of World War II, this vigilant organization of citizen airmen has been committed to service to America. Founded Dec. 1, 1941, to mobilize the nation’s civilian aviation resources for national defense service, CAP has evolved into a premier public service organization that still carries out emergency service missions when needed — in the air and on the ground. 

Garner drove to a testing lab near the University of Alabama to pick up 300 test kits to deliver to a representative who forwarded them on to a Courtland test site.   

Originally, this was scheduled as a flying mission, with one of CAP’s airplanes being piloted by Garner, an aviator with decades of experience.   

Checking the weather, Garner found the skies had turned dark. As the weather took a turnGarner made the decision to cancel the flight. The team had to regroup and turn to an alternate mode of transportation – a CAP van.   

While not as quick of a trip, the team still managed to complete the mission in the van, logging more than 400 miles in support of the mission.   

The weather had Garner coordinating with the courier last minute to ensure the kits were delivered.   

“This is one of our many strengths of CAP  our flexibility,” said Butler. “While we have the assets to fly missions, we also have the ground transportation to make a mission happen. We do everything safely and always ensure our people are not put in danger 

This is a great example of our flexibility and our emphasis on safely accomplishing our mission.   

Saturday afternoon, Butler joined the team for this COVID mission. They reported to the Decatur boat harbor to meet with courier returning from Courtland with the completed test kits.   

From there, the team proceeded to Birmingham to transport the kits to UAB in the CAP van, ensuring the two coolers full of test kits made it safe and sound.   

Civil Air Patrol’s missions for America are many, and today’s adults and cadets perform their duties with the same vigilance as its founding members  preserving CAP’s 75-year legacy of service while maintaining its commitment to nearly 1,500 communities nationwide.