EmVP: Strangers share their RVs with healthcare workers

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CLARK - On a breezy morning, Jennipher Burris stands outside the camper parked in her driveway adjusting the rug blown around by the wind. Even though her house is just steps away, the camper is now the place she calls home. 

"My home away from home," Burris said. "This is my safe place, to keep my family safe."

Burris works as a nurse at Boone Hospital in Columbia. She works in the cardiac cath lab taking care of patients in emergencies like those who have had heart attacks. She said her job puts her at risk of catching COVID-19. 

"Every time that we bring a patient through our door [we're at risk] because even without symptoms, sometimes people can have this disease."

Burris said she's extremely careful using the proper protective equipment at work, but that doesn't mean she still couldn't accidentally bring something home. 

She said she's trying her best to protect her family including her daughter who is pregnant. 

"I don't want to take any risks with her," Burris said. "We want to be able to have a nice healthy pregnancy and healthy baby."

So, when Burris heard about a Facebook group called RVs 4 MDs, she decided to check it out. The group helps connect RV owners with healthcare workers looking to live separately from their families during the pandemic.

Burris said she was shocked at how quickly her post requesting an RV had a reply.

"Within two hours I had someone contact me," Burris said. 

That person was Vickie McMichael. Vickie and her husband, Rick McMichael, said they didn't hesitate to help after learning about RVs 4 MDs.

"We were happy to do it, more than happy to do it," Vickie said. 

And, the two and a half hour drive to mid-Missouri from St. Charles, didn't stop them either.

"I hope she knows that we would have done it again and again," Vickie said. "We are just so happy to know that she's safe and her family is safe."

"It's an overwhelming blessing actually, to know that there are still such good people that want to help and that are eager to help," Burris said.

The McMichaels had their RV to Burris' home just a couple days after they connected. And shared a meal together from a safe distance.

"They felt like friends right away," Burris said. "They were just kind and very thoughtful."

"It was joyful...to be able to do that," Rick said. 

Both Burris and the McMichaels encourage others to check out the group if they're a healthcare worker in need of a place to stay or an RV owner who wants to help. 

"Hope wins! In the end, that's what it's all about," Vickie said. 

"[They] have given us a feeling of peace and hope," Burris said.

The Facebook group has helped matched more than 1,300 healthcare workers with RVs since it was first created just over a month ago. It is run by volunteers. 

If you want to learn more about the RVs 4 MDs group, click here.

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