As part of the response to Hurricane Katrina, a team of UNC Hospitals' physicians and staff left Friday, Sept. 2 to travel to the Gulf Coast as part of the MidCarolina Trauma RAC's State Medical Assistance Team II. The team from UNC Hospitals is comprised of: Christine Clark, RN; Randy Kearns; Preston "Chip" Rich, MD; Michele Rudisill, RN; Ed Wilson, RN; Ben Zarzaur, MD; and Janet Young, MD. A second team from UNC Hospitals left Sept. 9 to relieve the first group of volunteers. The second team to help staff the K-Mart Klinic in Waveland, Miss., is comprised of: Alberto Bonifacio, RN; Joe Manese, Radiology Tech; Peter Milano, 5th year surgical resident; Andrew Millager, Pharmacist; Jim Rawlings, Pastoral Care; Tina Schade-Willis, MD; Renae Stafford, Trauma Attending Surgeon; Jim Starlin, Air Care Communications; and Wes Wallace, MD., attending, emergency medicine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Our group is winding down its tour. We will begin the journey back home in roughly 24 hrs. Home = Beds = Hot showers = Laundry machines = Regular toilets = normalcy. What a bittersweet thought home is.

I now know what the first group felt when we first arrived. One person scheduled to leave the day after were arrive told me that they would "love" to stay, but they were so ready to go home. She seemed so sad and her eyes seemed to tear up when she told me this.

Home holds for us so many wonderful things. Home is where family and friends are. Home is where our "stuff" reside. Home is where we have a sense of security. Home is where we know we have some control.

Yet, for the people who have been fortunate enough to be here, part of us will always be home in Waveland. We have connected to this place and the people here. Camp K-mart has become home for us. We know that at some time this place will have to be turned back over to the businesses that use this parking lot. Yet, when I return to Waveland, I should want to visit home. I will, like in my home in North Carolina, know the spot where I slept, ate, relaxed, and hid when I needed to be alone.

My hope is that for those people who called Waveland home that they can return home. It will be a painful journey for them. Home, where their family and friends were, where their "stuff" was, where they had a sense of security, can be nothing more than a pile of rubble. Home will never be the same again because it will forever be tied to this nightmare. I hope that as they return and we continue to do our part to help in their recovery that we can help restore that good sense of home this place once held for them. Maybe we will become the friends and family that can provide them that sense of security that they have lost. Maybe, when I return home to Waveland, someone whom I've been fortunate enough to meet here will see and recognize me and say, "Hey there's what's his name who use to live over there at Camp K-mart."



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