SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Two Springfield nurses offered their help and traveled to Puerto Rico to provide healthcare services following Hurricane Maria. Both have returned home.
Maura Egan and Jonas Israel helped the people living in the northwestern tip of the island recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in late September.
“Despite what our government said about these people wanting everything done for them, I would say the direct opposite,” Egan said.
“These people didn’t have bulldozers come and clear their mountain roads, they cleared it themselves with machetes and chain saws.”
Egan is a registered nurse at McKenzie Willamette Medical Center. She and Israel, who is retired, joined a group of doctors and nurses who wanted to help those in need. The group opened a free clinic and provided relief and medical services to the people of Aguadilla.
Egan said the most predominant illness they came across while there were respiratory issues. She said while they were able to provide healthcare services, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to restore the island.
“What I saw was a community of people who were helping each other, who were working very hard,” Egan said. “As long as there was daylight out, they worked sun up to sun down trying to patch neighbor’s roofs.”
She said the hurricane wiped off most of the cattle and agriculture in the town.
Egan plans to continue her work and return to Puerto Rico in a month or two. For now, she said she will collect donations to buy supplies for her next mission.
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