Heart to Heart International has now shifted into Phase II of our Hurricane Sandy response in the Northeast. While we continue to work with partners to coordinate aid deliveries, our Mobile Medical Unit has now returned to HQ after three weeks of service to New York residents affected by the Superstorm.
The MMU was already rolling before Sandy made landfall, and once it had arrived in Long Island, it was plugged into the overall relief effort, first being used at Red Cross shelters housing Southshore evacuees.
For a week and a half, volunteer doctors, nurses and medics made the MMU their office away from office, seeing dozens of patients for various ailments.
Then, once the shelters began to consolidate, the Unit was placed at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Far Rockaway, Queens, the scene of much devastation, and for another week and a half was used by more medical personnel to treat area residents.
I asked some of the med staff and Heart to Heart volunteers to jot down some of their thoughts as they worked with HHI just days after the storm. A few excerpts follow.
Lisa, a nurse with the MRC, draws blood for testing
There are so many people in need… Everything from newborn babies, sore throats, ordering meds for patients who need their prescriptions, narcotic withdrawal, staple removal, Coumadin level checks… just at the Manhasset shelter. I had scribbled on a piece of paper a list of meds I wanted, epi pen, Benadryl, Advil, Tylenol. The next morning I was told my van had arrived with my supplies. I walked outside expecting a box (I was so excited) and could not believe what I saw. It was the Heart to Heart Mobile Medical Unit! Two stretchers, portable monitors, EKG machine, a wall full of meds, a list of meds I wanted to order and they arrived the next day! THIS ORGANIZATION IS AMAZING!!! Stop by Manhasset High and check it out!!!
– Lisa Lynch, CRNA – Nassau Co Medical Reserve Corps
I am a volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps providing medical care for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Being able to volunteer my time has been such an incredible experience. Some of these people have lost everything and to be able to give them hope for the future is so rewarding. I am so thankful… Heart to Heart International is available for the community. I don’t know where these people would be without them.
The first day I was here we did not have the Heart to Heart International Mobile Medical Unit so we had to make due with what we had. I was able to see what a difference having the clinic made to the quality of medical care that the patients who needed our help received. The patients were now able to be supplied with medications and check up for those with Diabetes and Hypertension. We were able to give them the care that they deserve.
– Jessica Stein PA-C, Family Practice and Pediatric Urgent Care
Phil offloads hygiene kits from the MMU
It has been a remarkable experience, and a great pleasure, to provide assistance to Long Island area residents affected by Sandy. I volunteer with Heart to Heart International and am part of the team that arrived… with the Mobil Medical Unit filled with medical supplies and care kits for those in need. The Red Cross medical teams that we have partnered with have been so grateful for the meds we had on board and immediately available; it was like watching little kids on Christmas morning when they first came aboard the MMU.
Helping these great volunteers utilize the MMU and serve so many in need in these first few days following the storm has been a real blessing for me. We have provided a unique place for the medical personnel to examine, treat and bring peace of mind to the residents of the shelter, and I am proud to say I was able to be a tiny part of that kindness.
– Phil Meiers, Heart to Heart International, volunteer MMU driver
On Monday October 29, Hurricane Sandy made landfall. Our community of Manhasset, New York was badly affected. On Tuesday the American Red Cross set up a shelter at our local high school. The shelter held 300 clients. The outpouring of relief help has been overwhelming! From the incredible staff at Heart to Heart – Dan, Warren, and Phil – who with their compassion, stamina and huge hearts made such a difference in the lives of so many.
We are all so blessed for what we have and for the generosity of so many angels.
– Kathleen, RN
Dr. Valerie, right, gets excited at the arrival of requested medications
Tears came to my eyes when I saw the enthusiastic energy of Heart to Heart International as they came rolling up with their level 2 trauma facility to this shelter. Clients didn’t want to go to an ER for treatment because they didn’t want to be separated from each other, after losing their homes and all their belongings, they were willing to risk having no medical care to stay with their families.
With Heart to Heart International, it was like, if the client wouldn’t go to the medical mountain the medical mountain came to them. As days went by I saw smiles come to theses beautiful displaced faces of our clients as they started to feel medically better and knew that there were people out there that truly cared about them. When the parents felt better – the children felt better and the energy of hope was resurrected.
Dan, Warren and Phil, with Heart to Heart, came from Kansas City to New York… and brought the gift of humanity, hope, caring and medical security… these guys are our angels. We could never have done what we did without them. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And may you forever be blessed with a trail of sunshine wherever you go!
– Dr. Valerie Mokides, pediatrician