HPAE Nurses join AFL-CIO Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico

Nurses from HPAE and other AFT unions at Newark Liberty Airport

In response to a call for help by the national AFL-CIO, six HPAE RNs from New Jersey boarded a flight this morning at Newark Liberty Airport to fly to Puerto Rico to provide medical support to the people of the island as they struggle to recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria. They joined several hundred health care providers and skilled maintenance workers from unions around the country on the flight.

“Despite a mere three days’ notice, over 50 HPAE nurses volunteered to go to Puerto Rico for this crucial 14 day mission to relieve health care workers and provided much needed care. There were only 5 seats left. These nurses are heroes. Every day they provide life-saving care to patients, and now they will do this under the most difficult physical environment,” said Ann Twomey, HPAE President.

The six HPAE nurses on the flight are:

  • Joan Davis, Registered Nurse, from HPAE Local 5118 at Cooper University Medical Center
  • Washington Villacres, Registered Nurse from both HPAE Local 5186 at Christ Hospital and HPAE Local 5107 at Visiting Nurse Association
  • Xiana Gutierrez, Registered Nurse from HPAE Local 5107 at Visiting Nurse Association
  • Jose Dejesus, Registered Nurse from HPAE Local 5131 at Inspira Health Regional Medical Center
  • Harriet Itoka, Registered Nurse from HPAE Local 5185 at Bayonne Medical Center
  • Elisa Martinez, Registered Nurse, formerly HPAE Local 5089 at University Hospital

Photos below: Top – Elisa Martinez, HPAE Local 5089 at University Hospital and Washington Villacres, HPAE Locals 5107 (VNA) and 5186 CarePoint Health Christ Hospital); Bottom – Harriet Itoka, HPAE Local 5185 at CarePoint Health/Bayonne Medical Center and Joan Davis, HPAE Local 5118 at Cooper University Health Care.

The charter flight from Newark is also filled with needed supplies to help in the treatment of those patients with chronic illnesses and medical conditions resulting from the devastation of the Hurricane.

HPAE is proud of our members participating in this crucial effort, which was organized by the AFL-CIO, to provide assistance to the people of Puerto Rico.