Overland Park native Tom Brandt, staffer with U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, secures 100,000 masks from Taiwan

After learning that Taiwan had shipped masks to Colorado, Tom Brandt reached out to his contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei. Shortly afterward, he connected with the office of President Tsai Ing-wen, and together, everyone worked to secure the donations. Photo courtesy Tom Brandt.

A shipment of 100,000 masks arrived on Monday at the offices of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, thanks to efforts by Overland Park native Tom Brandt, who works for U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s office.

Moran announced last week that Kansas will receive 100,000 surgical masks from Taiwan as part of the country’s third round of international aid to countries experiencing a surgical mask shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will distribute the masks to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Brandt said that because Kansas received the masks directly, instead of the federal government, the state will be able to distribute them to “hot spots” across the state.

“It was important that Kansas was included in Taiwan’s third wave of international assistance in response to the spread of COVID-19, and I was glad to help Kansans directly in my role with Sen. Moran,” he said.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will distribute the masks to hospitals and healthcare facilities across Kansas. Photo courtesy Tom Brandt.

Brandt said the connections he has built while working for Moran’s office in Washington, D.C. over the past decade were instrumental in securing the mask donations. As communications director for Moran’s office, Brandt has built many relationships with others in government, including some who work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan.

After learning that Taiwan had shipped masks to Colorado, Brandt reached out to his contact in early April at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei. Shortly afterward, he connected with the office of President Tsai Ing-wen, and together, everyone worked to secure the donations.

“This is another great reminder that we are all in this together and that Taiwan’s contributions to promoting global health deserve the highest praise,” Moran said in an announcement last week. “I am grateful for the friendship between the U.S. and Taiwan. On behalf of all Kansans, I want to thank President Tsai and the people of Taiwan for helping keep us healthy and safe as we work to feed the world and protect those who are most vulnerable.”