NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Leslie Begy was born and raised in the Capital Region, but she now lives in Germany with her husband who is stationed there as a Battalion Surgeon in the Army. Begy is a nurse and has spent several years working in Oncology and in the ICU.
Begy told NEWS10 ABC that Germany has not seen nearly as many cases of COVID-19 as the U.S., and when she saw how serious things were starting to get, particularly in her home state of New York, she felt compelled to be there.
“I really felt in my heart, I’m supposed to be there. I’m supposed to be helping. I have the experience. I’m from New York, this is my home. I’m used to the pace,” said Begy. “I just felt so helpless. I was telling my husband I just want to be there.”
At first she said she wasn’t even sure if it was an option until she saw a recruitment posting online.
“Something popped up and it said, ‘we’re looking to deploy nurses to NYC to help with COVID relief’. I said oh my god! I said something to Colin and he said, Les, this is the answer to your prayers!,” said Begy.
Begy said she got the okay from work and on Wednesday of last week she signed up with Krucial Staffing. By Saturday she was on a flight to New York City. She starts on Tuesday, and she’ll be working 12-hour shifts for the next 21 days.
Begy said a former co-worker of hers is in the same program and staying at the same hotel, so she’s been able to hear some of her first-hand experiences.
“I initially did not want to ask about what was going on just because I know it’s going to be really bad and I know it’s going to be unlike anything I’ve ever experienced or done or seen,” said Begy.
Begy told NEWS10 it’s been a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions, but she wants to go into it with a clear mind and is mostly anxious to start helping in any way possible.
“Over the course of a day, my feelings change probably every hour. I’m excited and then I’m nervous and then I’m scared and then I’m really excited again,” said Begy. “I just want to be there for the patients and their families. I just can’t imagine.”
While she said she’s technically back home for the next few weeks, she will not be able to see any of her own family but said they’re showing her a tremendous amount of support.
“I’m here with the mentality that I’m here to work, and I think my family gets that, too,” said Begy.
While nurses volunteer to sign up, they do get paid for their work and their hotel and flights are taken care of.