Facebook Group Connects Healthcare Workers To RV Owners
They wanted to give doctors, nurses and others a place to isolate and keep their families safe -- while still being "at home."
During the age of coronavirus, people are connecting in new and surprising ways.
For medical workers who have been stressed out about coming home to their families after tending to sick patients all day, a solution came from a simple Facebook post.
The group RVs 4 MDs was started to match local healthcare workers to RV owners, who are lending out their campers or mobile homes for doctors and nurses to isolate in their own backyards and driveways.
Volunteers across the country are donating RVs to healthcare workers so they can self-isolate and keep their families safe. RVs 4 MDs/Facebook
Dozens of workers have already been matched with RVs all over the country, including Emily Phillips, who started the group almost two weeks ago after making a post on Facebook about borrowing or renting an RV in the area. Phillip's husband is an ER doctor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"Before the RV, I was a nervous wreck. Every time my husband walked in the door or put his hand on something, I thought we were going to get [Covid-19], including my baby," Phillips told CNN. Her husband now lives in the RV outside their house, where the family can come visit from a safe distance.
"Now that he's in that RV, I'm back to my life, focused on my full-time job and my kids, and it's completely changed our situation."
When a woman named Holly Haggard answered Phillips' post and agreed to let her borrow her RV, the two Texan moms decided to form a partnership and started RVs 4 MDs a few days later.
In less than a week, Haggard and Phillips recruited a team of volunteers across the country and had a board of directors in place to oversee the group's operations.
video c/o RVs 4 MDs
One of the first families to be matched with an RV was the Quale family in Burlington, NC where Mark Quale works as an emergency physician. After working long shifts at the hospital, Mark was constantly worrying about infecting his family at home, including his wife, two young boys and elderly mother-in-law.
Before getting the RV he would take off his scrubs before entering his home, and head straight to the tarped-off bathroom to scrub away any lingering germs.
Now, thanks to two strangers who live across the state, Mark has access to a 31-foot-travel trailer parked in his backyard.
Mark Quale's children check out their father's new home-away-from-home in their backyard. LaRayne Quale/Facebook
When Kelsey and Tim Webb heard about the Quales, they didn't think twice about handing over the keys.
"This family was in need and this was the one way we could help," Kelsey said. "You can't put a price tag on this. It just makes my heart happy that we're able to do this for them and give them peace of mind."
Tim drove the RV 2.5 hours to donate the travel trailer to the Quales.
Tim Webb drove 2.5 hours to hand over the keys to his travel trailer to the Quale family. LaRayne Quale/Facebook
"It was such an emotional thing to go through and to have someone offer up their RV completely for free, I felt so blessed," said LaRayne, who is now a volunteer with RVs 4 MDs. "I asked if they wanted us to cover the insurance, but they wanted nothing. They said that they are praying for us and rooting for us."
Mark said the work RVs 4 MDs is doing is critical to making sure healthcare workers can continue fighting the virus.
"[RVs 4 MDs] demonstrates that there is so much more to fighting the coronavirus than what happens at the hospital," Mark said. "There are layers upon layers of people fighting this in different ways. The reason I'm able to fight this right now is because of my wife and the work that these people are doing so we can focus on the medical portion and not have to worry about the rest."
The group already has a robust network of volunteers in almost every state. RVs 4 MDs/Facebook