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New Hampshire pilots Jim Murphy, left, and John Wilson flew a load of supplies to storm-ravaged Long Island on Sunday. (COURTESY)

Brookline pilot has diapers, will travel: Supplies flown to help Sandy victims

BROOKLINE - When Jim Murphy saw the devastation Hurricane Sandy left behind in New York and his home state of New Jersey, he knew he wanted to help but wasn't sure how. And then he remembered he had an airplane.

Murphy, of Brookline, has been flying planes for 20 years and bought his own small plane around 15 years ago.

"Some people have lake houses or places in the mountain," he said. "But for me, getting away means getting in my plane and flying."

Murphy scanned a list of things people in New York and New Jersey needed most and decided that diapers and wipes made the most sense because he could carry a lot of them without overloading his small Mooney airplane.

"I knew if I could collect enough stuff, I could get it in the right hands," he said. So he put the word out to his friends and neighbors in Brookline Friday. By Saturday, he was overwhelmed with donations.

"It almost got out of control because I got so much," he said.

He reached out to Aerobridge.org, a group of aviation professionals who work together to provide relief services when crises strike.

Aerobridge.org connected him with fellow New Hampshire pilot John Wilson. Wilson had a larger plane, and agreed to fly to Nashua, pick up Murphy and his supplies, and ferry everything to an airport on Long Island.

In all, the men packed more than 600 pounds of diapers, wipes, food and other supplies into the plane, loading it to capacity.

On Sunday, they headed south to make their delivery. Flying over Long Island, Murphy said he could see the mark left on the coastline by Hurricane Sandy.

When he landed, people shared images and stories of what they'd seen and endured. He knew during his brief stay on Long Island that he'd made the right decision.

"It just felt like the right thing to do," he said.

Murphy said it's possible he may make another trip. But rough weather is moving in this week and he's not sure how that will affect his plans.

nfoster@newstote.com

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