Edward Hospital Workers Help in Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts

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“It’s as simple as helping people less fortunate than ourselves,” said registered nurse at Edward Hospital and professor at Loyola University Chicago Tracy Fabsits. “We are medical people, and medical people were not responding, so we called Samaritan’s Purse and they said, ‘Yes, come on down.'”

Registered nurse Tracy Fabsits was one of three staff members from Edward Hospital who headed to Florida earlier this month with Samaritan’s Purse to aid those devastated by Hurricane Ian. Co-workers Linda Newhouse and Michelle De Luca joined her for the 26-hour car ride to Fort Myers for a week of assistance.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in the Fort Myers area on Sept. 28 as a Category 4 storm. It swept across Florida, eventually dipping into the Atlantic and rearing back to hit South Carolina as a Category 1. It was the deadliest hurricane in Florida since 1935, killing more than 100 people. Thousands were left without homes.

Helping in Fort Myers

While in Florida, the trio were able to use their medical skills to help with some injuries or direct those hurt to receive further help. But the majority of their time was spent helping remove broken trees and debris from the streets. 

“When we drove to our first job, the devastation was unbelievable,” said Fabsits. “Everybody’s belongings, clothes, furniture, toys, at least six to eight feet tall on either side. We knew that drinking water and plantation food was contaminated.”

The three stayed at a local church with others from across the country, all ready to pitch in.

“There were people from Maine, Alaska, Tennessee and Wisconsin,” said Fabsits. “The people were all there for the same thing. Everybody’s heart was in the right place. Everybody jumped in, we cleaned up whatever we needed to, and then we were ready for the next job.”

Their efforts were rewarded with an unexpected but touching gift.

The first day we got there, somebody went to Costco a couple hours north of where we were and (got) $2,000 worth of food,” said Fabsits. “And somebody in line paid the bill.”

Fabsits’ Future Plans

Fabsits says her work there isn’t over yet. She plans to return shortly after the new year, along with other nurses from Edward.

“The people were so grateful, saying how much we were giving them,” said Fabsits. “But I wanted to give more, so we are going back.”

Naperville News 17’s Will Payne reports.

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