Young pilot helps deliver food to stranded residents on Kelleys Island

KELLEYS ISLAND, Ohio (WJW) — A young pilot has become a pretty popular guy on Kelleys Island this winter. 

Every Friday, he makes a voluntary food run for people who are cut off from the mainland by an ice-covered Lake Erie.

“I’m just doing it because it’s just a good deed,” said Robby Quinn, 20.

Quinn says he first learned to fly a plane when he was in the third grade. Friday, the Bowling Green State University student, who aspires to be a commercial pilot, set out on a weekly mission to help his neighbors.

Quinn grew up and still lives on Kelleys Island, which is cut off from mainland when Lake Erie freezes over.

“The ferry’s not running during the winter, which is the main way of getting food or people over to Kelleys Island. The only way to get back and forth reliably is via airplane, so nothing larger than this is getting into the island this time of year,” he explained.

Quinn goes to school during the week and flies home to the island on weekends. He tells his neighbors if they place an order, he can make a stop and bring them a meal from one of the restaurants in Port Clinton or Catawba.

“It’s an eight mile hike across thin ice right now, so this is about the only way to get them there,” said Brian Edler, owner of Domino’s Pizza in Port Clinton.

“The island market they have, you know just kind of has your basic necessities in the terms of food items, so if you want to do any serious shopping, you have to do it over here at the mainland. So it’s kind of nice to bring a little bit of the mainland normalcy over once a week,” Quinn said.

Quinn says each week, about a dozen families take him up on his food delivery, which he offers free of charge. The families call in and pay for their orders ahead of time, although a few weeks ago the Domino’s pizza owner donated his sales proceeds to the United Way.

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