After flying in from all parts of the U.S., eight Project HOPE team members joined the USNS Comfort ship off the coast of Manta, Ecuador for the Continuing Promise 2011 mission.
The new team consisted of five first-time Project HOPE volunteers and three returning team members.
Project HOPE veteran and Operations Officer Tracy Kunkel took the new team members on a tour of the Comfort shortly after arriving.
The ship, which was converted from an oil tanker to a hospital ship in 1985, was built to accommodate 12 Operating Rooms, 4 Intensive Care Units, and 1000 beds.
Now a fully modernized hospital ship, the Comfort is able to transform to accommodate more patients. Ms. Kunkel showed the volunteers how one of the ship's gymnasiums can be converted into an ICU during high volume missions if needed.
The next day, the Project HOPE volunteers attended orientation, training, and visited the medical units they'd be working in. For most, it meant meeting the people they'd be working alongside for the next month or longer.
As Project HOPE Volunteer Wendy LaFague, a PACU nurse from Texas who will be aboard the USNS Comfort for the next 4 months said, “I came here to work. I'm ready.”
More on the new rotation of volunteers next week!
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