As you all may know by now, last week, Hurricane Harvey ravished through my hometown of Houston, TX and the surrounding neighborhoods. ‘Hurricane’ is really an understatement because Harvey was not just a hurricane, but there were reports of tornadoes, lightning fires, road erosion, and perhaps the most devastating aspect of all, unprecedented flooding.
I am not going to rattle off all the world record statistics, rather, I would like to take this time to highlight two people that I personally know who demonstrated the utmost courage and sacrifice during this past week. Now there were many heroes during this unparalleled downpour, but permit me to shine a light on people I know in the medical field who went above beyond the normal call of duty.
The first hero is a dear friend of mine, Valerie, who is a Neuro ICU nurse. She volunteered to come into work the Friday afternoon before the storm arrived later that evening. Initially, she was informed by hospital administration that staff might have to stay overnight for a day maybe two at the max. Well, Harvey had other plans and her hospital, like most places in Houston, was inaccessible by car for nearly five days. Valerie provided round the clock care to her patients on her unit for five straight days getting little sleep. When she was finally relieved of her duties, she went home to rest and the next day, volunteered at the George R. Brown Convention Center to assist people affected by the storm.
The next Harvey hero, Collete Sulcer, was a mother that sacrificed her life to save her daughter’s life in the flood. The story of Collete’s heroism has reached national headlines and I actually had the privilege of working alongside her when I was a budding OR nurse in Houston 6 years ago.
Collete was a trauma surgical technician who served as a mentor to surgical nurses and technicians day in and day out. She spent her life rescuing people on the operating room table. But as her final act of bravery demonstrated, her life-saving capabilities extend well past the surgical setting.
She exemplified a true guardian behind the mask and I am fortunate to have crossed her path at one point in time.
The effects of Hurricane Harvey are truly devastating. There are many heroes that emerged from this terrible act of nature. Even though this storm took so much, my city is strong and will rebuild after this. Please continue to keep the people affected by Harvey in your prayers. Below are some links to organizations you can donate to support the rebuilding and restoration of the entire community.