CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- More than a dozen CHS MedCenter Air crew members are safe and back in Charlotte after spending nearly a week helping patients in Texas.
The 16 crew members -- including eight pilots and eight medical staff -- flew to Temple, Texas after receiving a call for assistance from FEMA.
Pilot Dennis Diggers said the airport in Temple, located just west of Houston, was unaffected by the historic flood and acted as an airport for rescue crews who were waiting to transport patients to hospitals in unaffected areas of the state.
“You’re standing by," Diggers explained. "There were probably 35 aircraft on the line from everywhere that had come down to try to help."
But the waiting in standby didn’t last long. Diggers said the crew members from CHS were split up into two teams and almost simultaneously received patients.
“We pretty much took off and landed right behind each other. Both of our patients were elderly and just really sweet ladies,” said Shellie O’Day, Respiratory Therapist and Paramedic for CHS MedCenter Air team.
After touching down, each crew shared photos of their flights with hospital staff. Despite having two different patients on two different aircraft, the crews realized there was a similarity in their mission.
Photos show nurses on both flights holding the hands of their patients, a show of support and a way to tell them there is hope.
Both crews returned to Charlotte on Sunday after completing four missions. They were given 24 hours to rest and returned to duty Tuesday.