Monday, September 11, 2006

Dr.Hayhurst in New Orleans

From this evening's News-Sentinel:

I've seen Hayhurst in a crisis

I am a registered nurse who volunteered my time and skill last year when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. That was where I met Dr. Tom Hayhurst.

I was appointed the person in charge of our group, including Dr. Hayhurst. Upon arrival in Alexandria, La., we were split up due to the need of medical assistance statewide. I was assigned to go to Thibodaux and Dr. Hayhurst to the small town of Marksville. He was in a clinic there, taking care of sick and injured people, plus babies delivered after the storm. He was professional and managed to deliver care with bare necessities. To me, someone who can take nothing and make it work is a true leader.

Our trip was rewarding in every way. We cared for the sick and dying; we prayed with them; we helped them try to locate family members lost in the storm; we provided a shoulder to these victims displaced by the wrath of Mother Nature. The majority of the people we assisted were from the lower Ninth Ward and had spent time at the Superdome. We began to build trust with these victims, then what began to unravel was the fact that we were being evacuated from our makeshift hospitals due to Hurricane Rita.

Our evacuation began Sept. 19, when we were moved back to England Air Force Base in Alexandria and right into the outer two bands of Hurricane Rita. Dr. Hayhurst was still in his clinic 267 hours away, and I was in communication with him by cell phone. I arranged for the National Guard to bring Dr. Hayhurst back to England.

We had at this point been two days without food and water. We had no electricity. We were in a Dome situation. He arrived in time to ride out Rita with us in the gymnasium at England AFB.

He was very calm and collected. I can tell you I have faith in him; he was a strong, solid base of knowledge for each of us during the storm. He kept a very positive attitude, when we thought it was the end of the world because of the statewide crisis due to yet another hurricane.

After witnessing the manner in which Dr. Hayhurst took care of hurricane victims in Louisiana, I can tell you he is truly battle-tested. I stand proud to know he is from Fort Wayne. With Dr. Hayhurst as our guide in Congress, we will only benefit from his service. Please vote for him!

Tina Linker

New Haven

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