I am a Maui native, and I work as an ob-gyn nurse at the Kaiser Permanente clinic in Wailuku. I was at work when I first heard about the fire. That night I went home and my co-workers — 2 LPNs from UNITE HERE Local 5 — called and said they were going to the main shelter. I knew right away I wanted to volunteer and help, so I went with them. It was heartbreaking! There were people who needed attention because they were burned or who had been treading water for 6 or 8 hours to get away from the fire. That was the beginning. I worked 16 straight days, helping in any way I could. I’m still going to Lahaina one day a week, mostly providing prenatal care. When I go there it’s hard to even look up. It’s so sad. Lahaina was always the center of culture on Maui and now so much of it is gone. Still, I have to go. I always ask myself, ‘What if that was you on the other side of the story?’ Some people have lost everything. I don’t know how I would deal with that. But I know I would be glad there were other people out there who were willing to step up and help.
Sarah Lopez, RN, Hawaii Nurses and Healthcare Professionals (Hawaii)