CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As the coronavirus hit the U.S., former nurse Tonya Sheets says she watched as former colleagues and friends began battling the virus here in Charlotte.
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“It’s crazy, and it’s hard not being on the front lines anymore,” says Sheets. "You kind of feel guilty.”
After hearing stories of what medical professionals were going through following their shifts to protect their families, Sheets knew she wanted to do more.
“You know some of them are sleeping in their garages, you have people sleeping out in their patios,” says Sheets. “Hotels are very expensive for those who are even accepting new reservations. So, it’s a challenge for them."
That’s when she discovered the Facebook group RV’s For MD’s. The group started just over a week ago by Emily Phillips, the wife of an emergency room doctor in Texas, and her friend Holly Haggard.
“Every night I literally couldn’t sleep, I didn’t know what to do,” says Phillips. “I have a newborn baby, two other kids, one with asthma. I have asthma. All he’s got to do is wipe his nose and put it on the counter. What are we going to do? We could all get this and die.”
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What started as a local group in Texas to match medical professionals like Phillips' husband, Jason, to those with empty campers or RV’s, quickly turned into a nationwide network.
“It gives me peace of mind,” says Dr. Jason Phillips. “One, because I’m still participating in my family and my life. Not as much as I would like to, but I’m still seeing them. And I can see my wife there. Two, I’m sleeping on my own property which makes me feel a lot better.”
“I think the really neat thing about this is everybody’s trying to find a way to help,” says organizer Holly Haggard. “And to be able to do something like that, this is true humanity and love.”
And with the help from partners who own RV’s, like Sheets in North Carolina, healthcare workers can find peace.
“We did a match with a family,” says Sheets. “The husband is an emergency room physician up in Roxboro, North Carolina so we’re actually taking it up there Sunday.”
The group hopes to find ways to keep everyone fighting COVID-19 a safe place to stay, for the medical workers, and the ones they love most.
“If they have a camper or an RV that they’re not using, any size, please come forward and think about donating. It would really help our frontline workers that are fighting this fight for us.”
If you or someone you know has a camper or RV that would like to help a family during this time, you can follow their page, ‘RV’s For MD’s’ on Facebook.