Katheryn Courville is a nurse at Good Shepherd hospital in Longview. But for the last month, she's helped victims of the deadly tsunami in Sri Lanka. Katheryn has volunteered with the Red Cross for 8 years.
As Katheryn's convoy got closer to the hardest hit areas, she says she couldn't believe the destruction she found. "I slowly started seeing a little bit more destruction and more and more and then it just was endless. Everything along the coast was affected, destroyed," says Katheryn.
Her job was providing medical and food supplies directly to the grateful victims. "I had the best job in international relief because I actually got to hand the goods to the people. I had that great feeling that when they say 'thank you' they mean it. It's a wonderful feeling."
In the days after the disaster, there was a lot criticism for how long it took to get aid into the area. But Katheryn says the Red Cross had to take the time to set up a system and distribute the aid fairly. She says other organizations simply dumped the supplies out on the road. "You see these people scrambling. These people who have been living outside who maybe haven't eaten. Their children are hungry. The smaller people get pushed aside and the bigger people get in there."
Now back home in Longview, Katheryn has returned to her nursing job. But she will always remember Sri Lanka and the victims she helped.
This was Katheryn's first international mission. She says the minute she heard about the tsunami, she called the Red Cross and asked to be sent to help.