By Jon King/

Two area residents were among a group of pilots who volunteered their time and planes to shuttle urgently-needed medical equipment to Michigan hospitals battling COVID-19.

Mark DeGroff of White Lake Township and Josh Fenwick, a commercial airline pilot in-training from Brighton, were among a half-dozen pilots who gathered on Friday and flew to Indiana to pick up 12,000 face shields and bring them back to Michigan. The supply flight was organized by Cran Jones, Co-Owner of the Michigan Seaplane Flight School, who works in the automotive industry and reached out to Mursix Corporation in Muncie, Indiana to see if they could make face shields, which offer an extra layer of protection to health care workers against fluid-borne pathogens like the novel coronavirus.

DeGroff, Fenwick and the other pilots flew out of Oakland County International Airport on Friday morning for the 90 minute flight that would take about four hours by car. DeGroff says his aircraft, a PA-32-R Piper Lance, which he described as the “minivan of single engine airplanes” was particularly suited for the mission.

The planes then flew to Willow Run Airport with the face shields for distribution to area hospitals. DeGroff says he and the other pilots are ready for another supply mission as soon as they get the call. "I know they're continuing to manufacture these and I.m certain we're going to be delivering them, so if Cran needs me, I'll male myself and my plane available. It's a good way to get out of the house in these difficult times and it's for a good cause."

Fenwick told the Muncie Star Press that different communities are, “doing whatever they can in different ways. We have the medical community who’s out on the front-lines. The scientific community is doing everything to develop treatment and a vaccine. As the aviation community, we thought we can fill a need in terms of the transportation of these masks. By flying them, we greatly reduce the transportation time and get the masks to where they need to be because they’re needed now.”

Pictured left to right: Pilots Matthew Pillsbury, Mark DeGroff and Josh Fenwick. Picture courtesy of WJBK Fox 2.