46ºF

LewisGale nurses hard at work helping Houston hospitals after Harvey

Nine nurses left for Texas last Wednesday

SALEM, Va. – Nine LewisGale workers are hard at work helping hospitals impacted by Harvey in Texas.

WSLS 10 first talked with the crew last Wednesday, as they set out for a journey full of unknowns with less than 24 hours’ notice. Today, we got the chance to check in with the team.

"Just flying over it made it all very real to us. It was no longer a picture. We got to see (what) at first I thought was a river and there's no rivers right there but it was just flooded," LewisGale nurse Jayme Welly said.

Jayme and Aaron Welly, who dropped everything and left four kids at home, are among many nurses who traveled cross-country to assist hospitals in need.

"When we first got here, that was pretty much our job... to relieve those nurses to allow them to get back to their families" Aaron said.

"Some of the nurses we relieved tell me about the damage to their homes. One in particular had just repainted her entire house and built her 7-year-old twins new beds that she's going to have to throw away because of water damage," LewisGale nurse Amy Woods said.

With the flooding also comes illnesses the nurses aren't used to seeing.

"People are coming in with odd viral bacterial infections that wouldn't have normally had them such as scarlet fever or different bacterial infections that you just wouldn't see, which is extremely interesting and they're rare things," Aaron said.

Amy Woods said they've been sleeping at the hospital until today, when they were finally able to get some hotel rooms.

"Several people have said well can they stay and my response has been absolutely not we're all going home together," Woods said.

She says she's inspired to see how her team has stepped up to help.

"It doesn't matter if we're Virginia nurses working in Texas, we're nurses and we're part of a team while we're here," Woods said.

Most of the nurses will return to southwest Virginia next week.