She’s headed back to her homeland to help the hungry and the homeless in the Philippines, which is still reeling from one of the most powerful typhoons in recorded history.
Myra Hidalgois, a registered nurse who works at MountainView Hospital, was to leave this morning, which means she was hurriedly packing Friday night for the 16-hour trip, with layovers in Los Angeles and Korea.
Dressed in blue scrubs and cut loose early from her 12-hour shift, Hidalgois, 32, said she was excited to be chosen as part of a seven-nurse contingency, the latest in a wave of thousands of nurse volunteers sent by the National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network.
Her ultimate destination: Roxas City on the northern end of Panay Island.
Her mission: To serve as a nurse, check for vital signs, distribute medication, tend to the injured and vaccinate those who need vaccinating. In short, to do what she’s been trained to do.
“I’m excited but a little nervous,” said Hidalgois, a Manila native who moved to the U.S. when she was 10 and who speaks fluent Tagalog. “Seeing what they’ve been through, I want to help out. It’s a fulfillment helping out in the Philippines.”
The general medical surgical nurse expects to return on Dec. 3.
Rose Brennan, a labor representative for the National Nurses Organization Committee, said she is proud of Hidalgois. It’s not every day that a Las Vegas nurse is sent on such an important mission.
So are other nurses, who left heartfelt goodbyes scrawled in red marker on a whiteboard at the office of the National Nurses Organizing Committee on Decatur Boulevard near Flamingo Road.
“Tell the people we care for them, too,” wrote one.
Said another: “We are with you in spirit.”
And yet a third: “You rock, Sistah!”
And finally, “Safe Journey.”
Thousands of people have died in the Philippines as a result of the typhoon, and Brennan said many nurses at MountainView have relatives there.
The Filipino population in Las Vegas is estimated at 150,000. It’s considered the third-largest minority, behind Latinos and African Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Contact reporter Tom Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5512.