If the mission needs an airplane, the Cowboy State Volunteers are here to help.
The group, which has three local members in Orville Moore, Curtis Abraham and Todd Herman and 27 members statewide, is a volunteer group of pilots available for a multitude of tasks, including providing support for search and rescue teams or missions for the forest service.
Most recently, they have been an essential part of Wyoming’s fight against COVID-19.
Three members of the Cowboy State Volunteers flew private aircraft to deliver Abbott ID-Now COVID-19 equipment and test kits across the state on April 14.
The volunteers delivered 10 Abbot testing machines with 12 testing kits across the state.
The flights were a joint effort among pilots and crew. Chad Kuhn (Pinedale) and Alex Heil flew equipment in Kuhn’s Cessna 210 to Lander, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Kemmerer. Joe Feiler (Casper) and Dallas Chopping flew Feiler’s Cessna 177 Cardinal to deliver supplies to Thermopolis and Cody.
No local pilots were involved in the mission, but Moore said it’s an example of the support that local members are prepared to give to the local community.
“We’re here to help,” Moore said. “And we don’t charge for anything but fuel. And we fundraise so sometimes we don’t even have to charge for that.”
Ken Johnston, Cowboy State Volunteer president, said it was an important mission for the group.
“It meant a great deal for us to help with this effort,” Johnston said.
Big Horn County Emergency Management Coordinator LaRae Dobbs said the materials delivered may directly assist efforts in Big Horn County.
“Potentially we could use the Abbott testing machines that were taken to Park County. That is currently under advisement with the Wyoming Department of Health, and we have not received a definitive answer as to how that might look moving forward,” Dobbs said.
By Ryan Fitzmaurice