Bill Lonneman, assistant professor of nursing at the College of Mount St. Joseph, spent a week in areas in New York City and Connecticut that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Lonneman is a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross and accepted a deployment to the story disaster sites.
Lonneman arrived Nov. 2 in White Plains, N.Y. and was asked to be part of a “circuit riding” team with another nurse, visiting the shelters in West Chester and Rockford counties and over to Greenwich, Conn. Their job was checking on the staff and nurses who have been working since before the storm hit. The storm brought down trees and power lines, causing thousands to live without electricity and heat.
“The people in the shelters are all ages and situations, many elderly and some people with psychological conditions,” Lonneman said. “Everyone who is normally vulnerable becomes even more so with a situation like this.”
He spent the next several days helping in shelters in Manhattan and Brooklyn, which housed several hundred people of all races, ages and abilities. They helped children with fevers and rashes to getting medical attention for people needing to see a doctor in a different part of the city. Lonneman said the people wanted to make sure the rest of the country hadn’t forgotten them.
“I had someone in a restaurant ask me if the disaster was still on the news ‘back home’ in Cincinnati,” Lonneman said. “Everyone really appreciates that we are here; people in the subway see my Red Cross badge and smile.”
The College of Mount St. Joseph is an undergraduate and graduate Catholic college that provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional curriculum emphasizing values, service and social responsibility.