Florida VA finds, contacts nurse's father, sister in Puerto Rico

When Wanda Valakos, RN, couldn't get in touch with her father or her sister in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, her employer — Tampa, Fla.-based James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital — stepped in to help, according to ABC Action News.

Ms. Valakos said she "couldn't sleep" after calling her father repeatedly for more than one week without answer following the hurricane . Finally, she asked VA officials to help.

"You know by the tone [the VA officials had they] weren't blowing you off, I knew they were concerned," Ms. Valakos told ABC Action News. "I knew they were going to help. I knew they cared."

She said a VA social worker tried calling various facilities on the island, even resorting to radio transmissions, but did not receive a response. However, officials continued their efforts and coordinated with the San Juan VA facility to have a social worker and two physicians drive to the area where Ms. Valakos's father lived. The individuals successfully found and helped Ms. Valakos's father, according to the report.

Ms. Valakos said the incident revealed the kindness and closeness she shares with her colleagues.

"[The James A. Haley VA staff] are a family and [the staff] convinced me more that we are a family," she told the news station.

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