coronavirus

Patriots’ Truck Carrying 300,000 Masks Heads to NY With State Police Escort

The critical protective equipment is part of the more than 1.7 million N95 masks that Robert Kraft purchased and had flown from China to Boston on the Patriots' team plane

NBC Universal, Inc.

Massachusetts State Police are escorting a New England Patriots tractor-trailer full of hundreds of thousands of protective masks destined for New York.

The truck left Gillette Stadium early Friday morning with approximately 300,000 N95 masks that will help support health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis in hard-hit New York.

The Patriots shared a video on Twitter, saying in a tweet, "We're all in this together. Headed to New York with hope, love and 300,000 masks for healthcare workers."

State police shared a photo on Twitter of the truck at Gillette Stadium, saying in a tweet that cruisers would escort the shipment for the entire route from Foxboro to New York.

The critical protective equipment is part of the more than 1.7 million N95 masks that Patriots owner Robert Kraft purchased and had flown from China to Boston overnight on the team plane.

The desperately-needed supplies arrived at Boston Logan International Airport Thursday evening, where an emotional Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said it was a moment he had hoped to celebrate for the past few weeks but never knew if it would really happen or not.

Desperately needed supplies have arrived after the Patriots' plane traveled to China to retrieve 1.7 million N95 masks.

Kraft purchased the masks to help hospitals in both states combat the ongoing, nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment. 

"We're going through something very unique and difficult," Kraft said Thursday in an interview with NBC New York. "We will get through this together."

One hundred thousand masks were also dropped off in Rhode Island, according to WJAR. Video shows Rhode Island State Police troopers assisting Massachusetts State Police with escorting the Patriots' truck.

Rhode Island State Police said on Twitter they were proud to join troopers from fellow New England states Massachusetts and Connecticut to escort the Patriots' tractor-trailer headed for New York City. They also thanked the Kraft family for their "overwhelming generosity."

Later Friday morning, the shipment arrived in Connecticut, via Rhode Island, where Connecticut State Police troopers joined the police escort as the truck continues its journey to its final destination in New York.

Around 4:30 p.m. Friday, the Patriots shared a photo on Twitter showing an empty tractor-trailer in New York, writing, "Governor Cuomo gives Robert Kraft a status update from NYC." Underneath the photo, it said, "RKK. Mission Complete. TY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The entire mission was made possible "thanks to a true team effort," according to Gov. Baker. The Kraft family and the Republican governor teamed up with Ambassador Huang Ping, Dr. Jason Li, Gene Hartigan and the state's COVID-19 Command Center to make it a success.

On Saturday, the Patriots posted a picture of the front page of the New York Post, which showed the team's tractor-trailer in New York City, delivering the critical supplies and read, "Something we thought we'd never say ... Thank you, Pats. Rival New England delivers 300,000 masks to NYC."

"Bigger than football," the Patriots said in a tweet of the cover.

The Kraft family and the Patriots are encouraging all fans to join in their efforts to provide personal protective equipment to doctors, nurses, health care workers and first responders who are fighting COVID-19 on the front lines. Through the remainder of April, 100 percent of donations to the Patriots Foundation will go directly to the purchase of these supplies. Donations can be made online at www.patriots.com/covid19.

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