Campers provide medical staff with place to self-isolate

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Many have been looking for ways to help the heroes, the first responders and medical professionals on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic and previously that’s looked like donating medical supplies like face masks and gloves. 

There’s a new way to make a difference two moms in Texas thought of — loaning out your camper or RV.

They created a group on Facebook it’s called RV’s 4 MD’s. They turn campers and RVs into self-isolation chambers for first responders and medical professionals across the country. 

It’s a gift of love you can loan to someone you have likely never met.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” RV’s 4 MD’s Admin Emily Phillips said. “Giving a two or three hundred-thousand-dollar home on wheels to a complete stranger for a while. No questions asked. It is bringing humanity back together in some way.”

Phillips came up with the idea after her husband, an emergency room physician in Texas, came in close contact with COVID-19 patients while working. 

“He’s bringing home countless germs every day and seeing sometimes hundreds of patients a day,” Phillips said. “I’ve been terrified, absolutely terrified. I have asthma and one of my young children does as well. I thought should we move him to a hotel for a while, should we move in with my mom for a while?”

That’s when her mother came up with the idea to ask to borrow a RV on Facebook. Just after that, she made a new friend and fellow Texan, Holly Haggard.

“It feels like we’ve always known each other,” RV’s 4 MD’s admin Holly Haggard said. “A mutual friend shared her plea on Facebook, and I answered saying, hey we’re not using our camper right now, you can borrow it!”

Together they decided many other people in the country could most likely benefit from the same idea. They created the group and it quickly grew.

“It grew from there, just a couple of our friends, it doubled and tripled and quadrupled almost overnight,” Haggard said. “We’re just two moms trying to help people.”

It grew all the way to Rockford, Michigan. That’s where Kim Mills heard of the idea and thought of his daughter and son in law.

“Last Wednesday my daughter called me and explained that her husband, who is an ER physician in Metro Detroit had been kind of following national advice regarding preparing for self-isolation if necessary,” Mills said. “We developed a plan and our camper was part of that plan. She asked if I would bring it over to Livionia, let them borrow it, and Thursday morning I delivered it to them. Set it up from a distance, and waved goodbye.”

Mills was able to celebrate his granddaughters first birthday with his daughter and son in law just days before the stay at home order was issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He hopes things will quickly return to the way they were before.

“I get emotional a couple times a day thinking about this. Would love to be able to hug my daughter and hold my grandchild again, and we’re just praying that we’ll be able to remain protected and healthy,” Mills said. “It’s hard emotionally at times, not concerned so much for myself but for their safety as a family.”

His son in law is an emergency medicine resident in a bustling Metro Detroit hospital. He encounters COVID-19 patients daily. He is convinced his positive diagnosis is only a matter of time.

“He’s certain that he will eventually test positive, whether he becomes ill or not, and because of that, obviously he wants to protect his family,” Mills said. “It gives me great joy seeing that people are actually willing to give up a physical asset for the use of somebody else. It’s just a loan. We’re not using these campers and trailers anyway. So, it is quite encouraging just to see the connection that is occurring.”

Mills, who loaned his camper to a family member, says he would still have made his recreational vehicle available to a total stranger after learning of the need that is spreading nationwide.

Haggard and Phillips are encouraged by how quickly their mission has spread.

“This is out of the goodness of your heart. If you want to loan your camper to a healthcare provider, if you’re going to have an agreement, that’s between you guys. We’ve got to stay out of that,” Haggard said. “Our mission is finding loaners and finding medics and first responders who need a place to self-isolate.”

If it sounds a little daunting, lending your vacation on wheels to a stranger, the Texans say this may not be for you. 

If you are interested, they say what they need most is volunteers and those willing to loan out their RV’s and campers.

“The single most way you can help us is by getting on Facebook, filling out our Google Doc, joining the group or deciding to volunteer so we can place more units to the people who really need them to self-isolate,” Haggard said. “We are so happy to help in some small way. It’s encouraging to see people come together, even in such a hard time.”

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Online:

Facebook: RV’s 4 MD’s

RV’s 4 MD’s Forum

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