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Beaver Area Member RN Joins Puerto Rico Relief Efforts

For Immediate Release 

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania orthopedic nurse from Heritage Beaver Valley Hospital joins 200 skilled union members in two-week Puerto Rico relief trip.

Beaver County, PA — Last week, Wendy Snyder, an orthopedic nurse at Heritage Beaver Valley Hospital, joined 200 first responders and skilled volunteers from over 17 states to help with relief efforts and the rebuilding of Puerto Rico.

The volunteers will spend two weeks in Puerto Rico coordinating with the Puerto Rico AFL-CIO and the city of San Juan on various efforts including helping clear road blockages, servicing hospital patients, delivering emergency supplies and restoring power and communications.

Just a few days ago organizers from the AFL-CIO asked union members to volunteer to provide relief services in what is being called the ‘the single biggest hurricane catastrophe in the history of the US.’ Hundreds of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania nurses didn’t hesitate to offer their time and expertise to the people suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“God has been very good to me and I’ve wanted to find a way to give back for a long time but didn’t feel I could leave my kids when they were little. Now that they’re grown I was thrilled to be able to answer my union’s call for volunteers to help in Puerto Rico.

I’ve been told to expect to work long hours in facilities with limited power and few of the services we take for granted in our hospitals. We will need to react to the needs on the ground as they change and do our best to care for the people who have been living through this devastation.

I’m not the only nurse in my union who volunteered. I heard that in just a few days hundreds of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania nurses volunteered to go help in the hurricane disaster areas in Puerto Rico as well as Florida and Texas, on their own time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room on the plane for everyone who wanted to go. I know that unions all over the country are trying to put together more flights and opportunities for nurses to take our very important skills to the people who need us the most right now.

When my colleagues heard that I was going, they all jumped in and purchased much-needed supplies. I have a large suitcase packed with medical supplies, toys, books, stickers, stuffed animals and brand new clothes for the families who have lost everything; I barely had room to pack anything for myself. I was touched by the generosity and quick action of my colleagues.”

The AFL-CIO, Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) and United Airlines teamed up to take the skilled volunteers to Puerto Rico and deliver donated food, water, and essential supplies to those who need it most.

The San Juan Coliseum has been turned into dormitory-style housing with cots to house the volunteers. The trip’s organizers will coordinate transporting work crews to sites throughout San Juan and the rest of the island based on where their skills are needed most urgently. Volunteers will try to send periodic updates during the next two weeks, but it is unclear if the communication infrastructure on the island will be up and running. The volunteers will return to Newark on October 18.

Contact: Krysta Curl 202-568-072;

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SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest-growing union of nurses and healthcare workers, uniting nearly 45,000 nurses, professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth. Together, we work to protect patient care, expand access to quality health care for all, and to lives of healthcare workers. We accomplish these goals by organizing non-union healthcare workers, driving industry standards in our contracts and fighting for legislation that affects health care in our state.

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