The Center for Translational Medicine at the University of Montana recently received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to identify and advance a COVID 19 vaccine.

Montana Senator Steve Daines visited the campus on Thursday and received a tour of the center and spoke to the researchers about the effort to find a COVID 19 vaccine.

“I had an outstanding brief from the scientists at the University of Montana who are doing cutting edge research on developing a vaccine for COVID 19,” said Daines. “To think that some of the best research and the best scientists could crack the code on COVID 19 is occurring right here in Montana. This could be not just a made in America solution, but a made in Montana solution, and I’m so proud of this effort.”

Following that visit, Daines got busy making lunches with the staff at Hellgate Elementary School to help feed the hundreds of children who cannot receive lunch at the school, due to the COVID 19 closure.

Superintendent Doug Reisig expressed thanks to Daines for helping to provide funding for his school district.

“We have an enrollment of over 1,500 but about 600 of them are at-risk kids that would not be able to have a breakfast or a lunch on a daily basis,” said Reisig. “We didn’t initially qualify to be able to offer that opportunity but with help from Senator Daines on the federal level, we were able to get some of those federal regulations waived so that we could participate and provide the meals for our kids and actually take those meals door to door.”

The kitchen at Hellgate Elementary was humming as they prepared breakfasts and lunches to be delivered and served via school buses on Friday.

(The Griz mask worn by Bobcat fan Daines was a gift from UM President Seth Bodnar.)