LewisGale workers head to Houston to help Harvey victims
Nine staff members are working in Houston for two weeks
SALEM, Va. – Nine LewisGale workers are heading to Houston to help hospitals, reeling in the wake of Harvey.
At the drop of a hat, the workers answered an urgent call for volunteers to travel to Houston.
"Yesterday morning is when this happened and then by 6:45, we got the phone call and I was like, ‘Wow. OK, well, I guess we're going tomorrow ... going to have to get some babysitters,’" volunteers Aaron and Jayme Welly said.
The decision doesn't come without sacrifice for the Wellys, who are leaving their four kids for a week.
"Our 8-, 10- and 12-year-old understood that there's people in need and people hurt. Our 6-year-old was a little ... He didn't get it. He's a little more sensitive. He's going to miss mom … didn't know who was going to give him hugs and kisses at night," Aaron Welly said.
After seeing the devastating images out of Texas, they knew they had to step up.
"If you don't answer the call, then who does? It is a sacrifice, but it's a no-brainer to go help," Aaron said.
So they packed their bags, joined seven others, loaded the car and set out for a journey full of unknowns.
"I don't think you can be prepared. I think the pictures only show you so much and then seeing it might just be a gut-wrenching experience," Jayme said.
"We were not given a lot of information and that's okay, we're just ready to serve and do whatever we're asked to do regardless of what that is," LewisGale Associate Chief Nursing Officer Amy Woods said.
Around 20 hospitals have been evacuated in the Houston area since Harvey made landfall.
"Some of our own were evacuated," Woods said.
The LewisGale team will likely be assisting there.
"I think they will very much appreciate our arrival. I think they're beyond stressed and will appreciate some relief because they have their own families they need to take care of so it'll be a welcome relief for them," Woods said.
Volunteers tell WSLS 10 they hope their efforts can leave a lasting mark on the people of Texas.
"A team from Virginia, Salem, Virginia was willing to get on a plane at a moment's notice and help ‘em out, knowing that they have the support they need, no matter where we are," Woods said.
Most of the team will stay in Houston for two weeks.
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