Delivering Hope to Louisiana
Last weekend our very own Alli Owens, travelled to Louisiana to drop of donations for the families that lost everything in the recent flooding. Alli is one of our rockstar therapy recruiters, as well as a Nascar driver. She was able to coordinate with local businesses to get a trailer to take all the items. We spent the week collecting donations, and by the day she left, the trailer was jammed packed with items to take to Louisiana. Advanced Medical will also be making a donation to help those affected by the flooding. We caught up with Alli and talked about her experience:
Why were you inspired to collect donations and drive to Louisiana?
A friend of mine posted about their family member losing everything from the floods and I sat there and thought about everything I have been blessed with recently, from having an amazing job I truly love, to getting an opportunity out of the blue to go back a race in NASCAR for a couple races, and having a wonderful man in life to raise my children with. When you stop and think about all your blessings, it doesn’t take long to feel it on your heart that you should be helping others in times of need. It took me less than a day to gain support from Advanced Medical and other local companies to make the trip possible. I knew it was my calling to be the leader for our community, but it was everyone else’s donations that made it possible.
A lot of Advanced employees donated items, how did they impact people’s lives?
Poleigh donated a full bin of children’s clothes and it stuck out to me because it was the only green recycling bin we had. We came across a young family that had lost their entire home and everything in it. The mother was saying how when you wake up because your bed is wet from water, you panic. You get your children and you swim as hard and fast as you can to safety, never thinking about your belonging that you are losing every minute that past. I took that green bin out and personally handed it to that family.
Then Brandon Marrs and Keeley donated diapers and wipes. We drove street to street and so many homes had young children that had nothing. Keep in mind these families lost their cars too, so no way to get anywhere. To physically hand a mother and grandmother a case of diapers and see tears because their baby and grand baby will now have a clean and dry bottom was something that will never leave me. Keeley’s yellow box of diapers went to a family in Gonzales, LA and Brandon’s went to a grandma in Port Vincent whose whole mobile home washed away.
Then there is Jason Newsome’s homemade soap donation. When we got to our first neighbor and open the doors to the truck, the smell was so horrible it took my breath away. It was so horrible and there was a lady who was standing in her yard just gazing at destroyed home and I asked her if she needed anything, which was a dumb question on my behalf, but she was kind and said I’d just like to feel clean again. So I pulled out the homemade soap and her smile was so genuine. There are so many more stories, but to tell all would be to write a book.
Can you tell us a little bit about meeting Jen, one of our travel nurses?
Jen was the highlight of my trip in regards to see how beautiful people can be on the inside. I pulled into a church parking in lot that was completely ruined by the flood. Jen was standing there with open arms and a huge smile. She explained that close to 20 of her family members where terrible effected by the floods and as we stood there she pointed to the church we were standing in the parking lot of, and said this is where her parents got married, pointed out where her grandmother used to live, and the neighborhood she grew up in. Then she paused and mentioned that both sets of her grandparents who were laid to rest has risen in the cemetery along with many others. Her and her family had nothing and it felt so good to give them the means to get some supplies on behalf of Advanced Medical. Jen is now currently on assignment in Texas and she is a true example of kindness, determination, and hard working.
How do you feel the experience has changed your life?
Never in my life did I understand the true meaning of loss, destruction, devastation, or disaster until I saw the true meaning of kindness, hope, faith, survival. To drive into an area and know that the road just last week was under 9 ft of water still gives me goose bumps. We drove street to street talking with people and giving them donations. Having grown men cry in my arms who I don’t even know, was something that broke my heart. Seeing children toys in the trees and in the roads make you realize the reality of how bad it true was. Seeing people standing in their yards just crying looking at everything the own just completely gone, and knowing I was going home to a warm bed and hot food made me so feel so humble. Seeing things on tv and the news doesn’t even begin to explain a single spec of their reality. To be there and smell the smell and see it first-hand will forever be a blessing and curse. I will always feel like I could have done more, but knowing I did something and inspired others to do good, makes me feel really proud and extremely humbled.
If you would like to help with flood relief, you can learn about donating and volunteering here.