A half-million protective facemasks arrived at Salt Lake City International Airport earlier this month intended for use by Utah students and teachers. The masks were delivered as part of Boeing’s COVID-19 transport mission aboard a Boeing Dreamlifter. It was the 12th such delivery of personal protective equipment around the U.S. by the airplane manufacturer.

Working in partnership with the state of Utah, Atlas Air Worldwide, H.M. Cole, Cotopaxi, Flexport and UPS, the company transported the face masks as part of the state’s “A Mask for Every Utahn” initiative. State agencies will distribute the face masks free of charge to school districts across the state with the greatest need.

“As students return to school this fall, it will be important that they have masks available,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who was on hand to receive the shipment. “We thank Boeing and these partners for everything they’ve done to support our ‘A Mask for Every Utahn’ initiative and make it possible for our students to have these masks and help keep Utahns safe.”

As part of the mission, H.M. Cole, a custom clothing store, donated 250,000 masks, with 100,000 of those masks sized for children. Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand based in Salt Lake City, donated an additional 250,000 masks and converted one of its jacket manufacturers for temporary face mask production. Boeing donated the cost of the mission transport into Utah, with Atlas Air operating the flight on behalf of Boeing. Flexport and UPS helped coordinate customs assistance for the PPE shipment.

“Boeing is proud to continue to use our resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said David Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “Today’s delivery, our 12th COVID-19 response airlift mission, expands our support of essential workers to include teachers and their students across the state of Utah, so they have the protective tools they need to safely and confidently return to their classrooms.”

To date, Boeing has helped transport more than 4 million PPE units — including the in-house production of more than 39,000 3D-printed face shields — to frontline healthcare professionals and communities in need.

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