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April 22, 2020

Couple Finds Unique Way to Join the COVID-19 Battle

When the COVID-19 outbreak started to make headlines, Appalachian Power husband and wife, Brian and Penny Myers, decided that they wanted to help.

With the order to work from home and travel restrictions, opportunities to volunteer were difficult for the Charleston-based couple to find. Penny is a 

With her family home in the background, respiratory therapist, Jill, accompanied by Penny Myers (left) checks out her new home away from home.

distribution projects controls analyst senior for APCo and Brian is the manager of projects for APCo’s Project Management Organization (PMO).

Scrolling through Facebook, Penny located the group RVs 4 MDs to Fight the Corona Virus and found a perfect volunteer opportunity. Created on March 24, the social media group matches volunteers willing to provide their RVs or campers to COVID-19 healthcare workers trying to protect their families by self-isolating. All accommodations are provided to the healthcare workers free of charge. To date, the group has made 600 matches across the United States.

The Myers are transplants from Ohio and still maintain a home there, including their 2016 Jayco JayFlight camper, so they began searching for a medical worker with a housing need in Ohio.

Through the Facebook page, they found a nurse looking for a safe place to stay while working on a COVID-19 unit.

Brian and Penny arranged to deliver and set up the camper trailer at the nurse’s residence. They made the drive to Ohio only to find that their camper was too wide to fit through the nurse’s gated fence.

Although they were disappointed they wouldn’t be able to provide housing for the nurse, Penny continued to look for others in need.

Last week, Penny and Brian found another match in Ohio. Through the site, they found Jill, a respiratory therapist, who lives in Galion with her husband (an Ohio Edison lineman) and two sons.

Jill has worked for OhioHealth for 18 years as part of the travel team. She was to report on Monday to work out of the Columbus Convention Center, which is set up to take in overflow COVID-19 patients.

Both of Jill’s sons have asthma, and she plans to live in the camper until the pandemic is over.

Over the weekend, Brian and Penny made the two-hour drive from Charleston to Ohio to pick up the camper and then drove another hour and-a-half to deliver it to Jill.

Through terrible circumstances came happy endings: Penny and Brian had the opportunity to help in the COVID-19 battle; the respiratory therapist, Jill, is able to keep her family safe by self-isolating; and the nurse from the Myer’s first match found a smaller trailer from another volunteer on the site.

Penny is elated that she and Brian were able to find someone who could use their camper. “It felt great to have a sense of purpose, to be able to do something to help someone else who is putting themselves and their family at risk to continue to do what needs to be done,” said Penny. “I strongly believe that we are all in this together!”