Yesterday, New York magazine included a story about two graduates of Worthington Christian High School, Rachel (Meeker) Hartley (WC ‘11) and Tom Huling (WC ‘07), who answered the call to serve in the Covid-19 wards in New York City. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article. Worthington Christian High School is a ministry of Grace Polaris Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation on the north side of Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor).
The Nurse Who Came by Sea
“It really makes me hope and pray the public takes things seriously.”
On Easter Sunday, as the noon sun bore down on New York City in bloom during what is surely its saddest spring in a century, a 50-foot white-hulled sailboat named Turning Point arrived in New York Harbor to berth in an otherwise empty marina in Brooklyn Bridge Park. On deck and ready to throw a line to the waiting dockhands was 26-year-old Rachel Hartley, an ICU nurse who had just sailed the nearly 250 miles from Hampton, Virginia — keeping watch overnight with her husband, Taylor, over the 34-hour passage — and ready to make the boat her home for the next two months. She is one of thousands of out-of-town medical professionals answering the call to provide reinforcements to the city’s hospitals.
Hartley, who has been a nurse since 2015 and spent two years working in an ICU, was working in surgical pre-ops in Lynchburg, Virginia, when, in early March, her hospital began to cancel all but the most urgent surgeries. Then, for several weeks, she said not a day went by when she was not “called or emailed or texted by one of the nurse-staffing companies” seeking people with intensive-care experience for coronavirus epicenters like New York: “Holy cow! There was such a need!”
She thought: “I’m not being utilized and I have training and skills to offer … [Because] my true bread and butter is critical care.” By then, she had already treated a few COVID-19 patients and her hospital was “bracing for a surge,” but she knew it would be “nothing like New York.” She gave her two weeks notice, and said good-bye to her colleagues. Since she and her husband, Taylor Hartley, a college recruiter and photographer (he took these pictures), owned a boat, they decided they’d sail up to New York in it to give her a place to stay. … Hartley convinced her former colleague Tom Huling — a nurse, paramedic, and firefighter from Columbus, Ohio — to quit his job and travel to New York too. (He drove, but will be staying with them on board the boat.) Their paid two-month tour of duty as ICU nurses will be at NYU Langone’s campus in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The Hartleys’ friend Emily Chafins, a physician’s assistant, joined them as well (her hospital assignment is pending).
Click here to read the complete article.