Red Cross sending health care professional volunteers to Puerto Rico

Posted at 3:33 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 18:57:28-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Red Cross volunteers are answering the call to serve those impacted by recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

Health care professionals from South Florida are flying to San Juan to meet with a team of nurses to assist health care centers in the hardest hit areas.

Maria Gubnitsky has everything she needs in her backpack to hit the ground running when she lands in Puerto Rico.

"I have a rescue mask, I have masks, I have glucose pills," said Gubnitsky as she went through her Red Cross backpack where she carries her stethoscope and first aid kit.

After a 30 year career in nursing, Gubnitsky's calling is far from over. She's volunteering with the Red Cross to lead a team of Spanish speaking nurses on the island. They will be helping people who need to replace life sustaining medication lost when homes collapsed. They will also assess the current health status of people impacted, and lend a hand to health care centers that may be overwhelmed.

"It's devastating. We are thinking of our family and friends in Puerto Rico. They are still recovering from the heels of Hurricane Maria and now the earthquake, so we want to be there to support them and nurture them," said Gubnitsky.

It's an important mission, but one that doesn't come without sacrifice. Gubnitsky will be away from her family for two weeks.

"I'm very fortunate that my husband, my children, are supportive of my work and I am very proud of what I do," Gubnitsky said.

If you're a licensed health care professional and you'd like to volunteer with the Red Cross, click here.