Among the unsung heroes in the chaos of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast are hospital workers. When Union Hospital staff heard of the conditions facing their counterparts at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, a hospital in southern Louisiana, they quickly began collecting clothes and personal items most requested by hospital staff and their patients.
This morning, a truck and fifth-wheel trailer left Union Hospital in Dover filled with more than 100 boxes of donated clothing and personal care items so desparately needed. Boxes of food purchased with cash donations were added to the load bound for Thibodaux.
This personal connection began when John Wright, UH director of Radiology, and Dave Berard, a specialist in the department, traveled to Thibodaux Hospital earlier in the year to see a digital imaging system similar to one being considered for purchase by Union Hospital.
?The staff at Thibodaux made us feel welcome and were very hospitable,? according to Wright. When the hurricane ripped through the Gulf Coast last week Wright said he knew the Thibodaux hospital was virtually in the eye of the storm.
?They?re only thirty miles from New Orleans and we feared for the safety of our friends.?
Wright says they finally made phone contact late Thursday, September 1. Fernis LeBlanc in the Radiology Department at Thibodaux hospital told Wright and Berard of the hardships facing the hospital staff there, both from personal losses from the storm and from the huge influx of patients from New Orleans and the surrounding area needing medical care.
?The story they told us was heartbreaking,? Berard said. ?So many people there have lost everything and the medical needs of the injured residents of Louisiana are massive.?
Wright and Berard issued a plea to Union Hospital staff late last week for donations of clothes and personal care items LeBlanc said were most needed. Donations poured in from hospital staff and from community members who heard of the situation.
Rob Cleeton, John Wright, and Dave
Berard load the truck with clothing for
hurricane victims in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Within a few days, Berard and other Radiology Dept. staff packed more than 100 boxes with donations. Many items were donated by members of the Hanover Methodist Church near Scio. Church pastor Rob Cleeton of Scio donated the use of his truck and trailer and Paul Hartline of Jewett volunteered to accompany Cleeton on the long drive to Thibodaux to deliver the clothing.
?We?re using donated cash to purchase the fuel they?ll need to make the trip and to purchase as much food as we can fit into the trailer,? Berard said.
Assisted by hospital staff, Wright and Berard loaded the trailer, and then alerted their colleagues at Thibodaux Hospital to expect the truck to arrive sometime on Friday, depending on road conditions and availability of fuel.