“I used to say to myself, my young self, ‘If I didn’t get married, I think I would like to go and work in some less fortunate place and be a missionary.’ So I always had this idea in my head that I would like to go somewhere and help people. But then I went into nursing and got married so, you know…”
“How did you end up doing it years later?”
“I went to a memorial service for somebody once and I happened to be talking to somebody there, it might have been Joe, and told them about how I really liked volunteering and they told me all about H4H. I remember it was the September before the year I started going. So, when they were recruiting the following January, I went and talked to a few people in CSICU because all of the nurses H4H had in recovery the year before were from CSICU. So, I thought ‘I’ll go this year.’ And a few of us went, and I kind of got hooked. This is my sixth year.”
“I notice a lot of people use that word – ‘hooked’. Why is that?”
“I think,… I think you enjoy the people. You enjoy what you do, but apart from that, you enjoy the people that are there and they make you want to go back. It draws a certain kind of people. I think it’s the kind that has that mentality of giving, you know. You like people and you’re drawn to the camaraderie.
And I’m always looking forward to hanging out at the Skybar on the first day.” (*laughs)
“Oh, the ‘tall’ building! (Antigua does not have anything much higher than three stories.) But, you are right. What you get back is amazing. Even if you completely disregarded the reward of helping somebody in need, the friends which you again by being a part of this are, I think, well worth the vacation time and the costs. I’ve often thought about the people I met last year while shooting ‘Triage’. And I end up feeling so good that they are a part of my life now.
By the way, where are you from?”
“I’m from the island in the Caribbean called, St. Vincent. In Windward Islands.”
“I noticed from your posts on Facebook this past summer that you also have family in the United States?”
“Yeah, I have three,… four siblings living in Philadelphia. My oldest siblings are still in St. Vincent. And I have a brother in Montreal. I have a large family. I’m the only one on this side.”
Gloria Garraway has been the head nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital for many years. She started to volunteer with H4H several years ago and was placed in charge of the Recovery Room area. Because of her personal qualities and leadership skills, she has been responsible for recruiting exceptionally skilled nurses for the postoperative area. The H4H team of physicians has come to rely on Gloria and her team to provide uniformly great care for the patients immediately after their surgical procedures. She has single-handedly been responsible for making sure that the surgical team has a complete and highly competent team of nurses to minister to the needs of the post-op patients.