April 6-12, 2014 is National Volunteer Week.
Meet some of the inspiring CMAT volunteers who help us fulfil our missions in communities around the world!
April 8, 2014 – Beverly and Michael Parker, Registered Nurse and Paramedic
As a married couple, Beverly and Michael Parker sometimes cross paths in the workplace, Bev as a Registered Nurse, Mike as a Paramedic. With a passion and desire to help those less fortunate, a colleague told Bev about CMAT’s deployment to Pakistan in 2010 after flooding devastated a significant portion of the country. She was intrigued. She came home and told Mike that she needed to volunteer. His only response, “I need to come with you,” and with that they applied together, and were selected for deployment as part of CMAT’s team 3.
Their experience was life-altering, and they felt they were really able to help people. “The people really needed us. It was so eye opening to see how different it was there, working out of tents, viewing x–rays with only sunlight. One of my most memorable experiences was realizing just how many people we were assessing who were Vitamin A deficient, something that we take for granted in Canada, and that we were able to treat an entire displaced persons’ camp for it with relative ease,” remarked Beverly
Four years later, the tables turned. Just as Bev had come home that fateful day and told Mike they were going to Pakistan, Mike came home one night in early November, 2013, shortly after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) had struck the Philippines, and said, “we need to put our name on CMAT’s availability list to deploy.” They were selected as members for team one and had the privilege of providing aid for people of the Philippines.
“The scale of devastation there was like nothing we had ever seen. We were so glad we were able to help. One of our favorite things about our deployment to the Philippines was that we were always on the move, we took health services to the people, they didn’t need to come to us,” Mike recalled.
“One of my most memorable moments in the Philippines was when I was helping at a local hospital one day and head nurse requested I give a patient his nebulizer Ventolin,” stated Bev. “When I asked how I could possibly do this with out compressed gas or electricity to run a pump or something she handed me a bicycle pump. It was absolute genius!”
It is moments like these, the couple remarked, like seeing people come together in times of need to make things work and helping each other that make all their efforts worth it. Both Bev and Mike feel extremely fortunate that with the support of their family and friends, and CMAT, they can continue to contribute to bettering the global community.
Beverly is a Registered Nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and Michael is a Paramedic for Alberta Health Services. They live in Edmonton, Alberta.
To apply to volunteer with CMAT, please visit www.canadianmedicalteams.org/volunteer