Millions of COVID-19 supplies delivered to BSU in nick of time

MUNCIE, Ind. — The daunting, 2,230-mile “marathon” road trip from California to Indiana to deliver disinfectant wipes to Ball State University, completed in just two days, wouldn’t have been possible for truck driver Doniyor Subkhonov if not for the support of rapper Eminem. 

That is to say, Subkhonov listens to the rapper’s high-energy music as one of many defensive tactics deployed against the perpetual enemy of all cross-country truck drivers: drowsiness. 

Subkhonov said this week was only the third time in his career he’s completed a delivery at that distance and with this extreme of a deadline.

Subkhonov and a second driver took turns napping in the back of their semi’s cab every thousand miles or so to reach Muncie in their two-day time limit, their deadline tied to the start of classes at Ball State next week.

Truck driver Doniyor Subkhonov takes a break after driving more than 2,300 miles in a two-day trip from California to Ball State Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

The rushed delivery was a perk offered by one of around six COVID-19 PPE suppliers Ball State’s Purchasing Services team, which is in the Division of Business Affairs, negotiated with to purchase more than two million disinfectant wipes. The deal was finalized Monday night, meaning the continent-spanning trip started just two days before most students would return to campus. 

Julie Hopwood, the university’s associate vice president for business and auxiliary services, said down-to-the-wire deal-making has been a prevalent challenge when it comes to equipping staff and students at Ball State with pandemic-curbing supplies.  

“Demand is so high for PPE across the country … that, and supply chain problems have been quite the issue in the last five months,” Hopwood said. “Getting the amount we need, at an appropriate price point and in our timeline takes a lot of coordination.” 

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