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Emily Phillips’s husband Jason, an ER doctor, is on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Phillips said the family became concerned whenever he came back from work, fearing what he could bring home from his job that could infect their family.
“Imagine being scared of living in your own home,” Phillips said. “I love my husband and it isn’t that I didn’t want him home, but I have an asthmatic son and a 6-month-old baby, so I was worried especially for them.”
The couple began discussing ways for Jason to live elsewhere. Hotels weren’t an option because they didn’t want to risk exposing anyone there either, then Emily Phillips’ mom made a suggestion.
“It was giving us horrible anxiety … But then one night my mom just called and said ‘Hey, why don’t you guys get a trailer or an RV?” Phillips said. She ended up finding a friend, Holly Haggard, who lent her an RV.
Realizing the problem stretched far beyond her family, Emily Phillips thought of a way to help.
Phillips and Haggard quickly started a Facebook group and called it “RVs 4 MDs.” “It absolutely skyrocketed,” Phillips said. “I have never in my life seen anything like this.”
The group aims to connect people who are willing to donate an RV to a family that needs one for a first responder, nurse or doctor to self-isolate.
“If you would read the stories that are posted in the group, they bring tears to your eyes,” Bender said. “One said a man was sleeping in his shed in the backyard and showering with the garden hose to protect his family, another woman was sleeping on the apartment balcony.”
To help avoid similar situations, the group connects a person with someone in their area who can donate an RV.
Daisy Brockman was one of the first people to get an RV through the group.
“She hooked us up with the little RV that had been donated first, which is ideal for our smaller property,” Brockman said.
Brockman’s husband, Reece, is also an ER doctor in a Texas hospital. She is concerned for what her husband of 25 years could bring home, and reached out for a living space for him.
“It is a huge relief that we are able to isolate Reece and keep our house from being infected, but still really support him,” Brockman said. “To watch this little germ of an idea grow and grow is just amazing.”
Phillips and there is now a team of people running the Facebook group.
“It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my entire life,” Haggard said. “Everybody is just coming together, and they don’t care who you are or what you look like, they just want to help.”
“RVs 4 MDs” continues to grow.
“We have an advisory board, an insurance agent, the developers of the Real Estate Triangle, and people in almost every state to help us,” Haggard said. “But, we still need more help.”
The group said they are looking for people to donate RVs and also people who can help keep things organized.
“The biggest way people can help right now is everybody caring about everybody,” Haggard said. “Just look in your heart and do whatever you can to help, that is what I think would be the most important thing.”
As of Friday, the Facebook group had more than 9,000 people and at least 50 medical professionals and first responders have been placed in donated RVs.
“It’s so easy, who has got an RV? Who needs an RV? And you can save hundreds, thousands of lives,” Phillips said.
RVs 4 MDs is currently considering more than 700 requests for placement in 42 different states.
“The people working behind this, I have never seen anything like it,” Phillips said. “Somebody is giving their home to a complete stranger with no questions asked, it’s all about helping each other.”