ETX nursing students and homeless people teach each other lesson - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX nursing students and homeless people teach each other lessons

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - East Texas nursing students are helping homeless people improve their health. 

UT Tyler and UT Longview are partners with the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission. 

A group of students put on a health fair Wednesday at the Longview mission. 

"Just put your name and age right here," a volunteer said to Tawnya Brumett as she signed in for the fair.

Brumett says she has been through a lot, "Hiway 80 basically saved my life." 

She had no place to go.

"I was in an abusive relationship. I just prayed to God and told him to take me wherever he wanted to lead me and he led me to Hiway 80," Brumett says. 

Now Hiway 80 is her home and Brumett is in the final steps of learning what she needs to know before going back out on her own. Wednesday's fair helped teach Brumett about her health, an important topic for people who are homeless. 

"It's something that everybody, if you are outside, needs to know," says Brumett. 

"Health is one of the reasons why people can be homeless, and if you're homeless it's also hard to be healthy," says Eric Burger, executive director at Hiway 80 Rescue Mission. 

Burger says the focus of their health fair is to teach people practical ways to manage their health. Participants discussed things like healthy eating, sanitizing to avoid infection and blood pressure. 

Burger says the fair's biggest impact is on the nursing students, "They're going to be working with homeless people and they always come back and tell me, because of this experience, they had a greater understanding and served their patients better."

"A lot of us don't have a lot of experience with people who have different living situation,s so this is a good chance for us to gain that experience," says nursing student Kelsey Nowlin. 

Brumett believes what's happening at the mission is God's work, "God's the one that did it. God's the one that puts it in people's heart to help people like me."

This is the fourth year Hiway 80 has hosted a health fair. 

UT Tyler and UT Longview nursing students also work with the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission every semester outside of the organized health fair. 

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