CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A.J. Gray knows what she is in for when she gets to New York City.
“The recruiter told me I should be prepared to work in a war zone type of environment,” she said.
Gray is a nurse, a teacher who trains would-be paramedics at Lorain County Community College and a firefighter/paramedic who volunteers in York Township in Medina County.
She was recruited to work in a federal government funded temporary hospital in Brooklyn.
“I am ventilator trained, I am A.C.L.S. certified so I have experience working with patients on ventilators. So I just wanted to put those skills to good use,” A.J. said.
But wanting to help is not her sole motivation.
In August, her 11-year-old stepson, whom she says she considers her own, woke with a headache. Ten minutes later, he was unresponsive.
“I went with him in the ambulance to the hospital, and we resuscitated him. But unfortunately, he didn’t wake up after that,” A.J. said of that tragic day.
Gage Gray had died of an Atrial Venus Malformation in his brain that ruptured.
It comes with no warning.
“My husband told me,” she said trying to hold back tears, “It’s kind of hard to talk about, my husband told me, being there could be the difference between life or death for somebody.”
Now, with her husbands support and with reluctant understanding from her parents, she is driven to do more and that is leading her to New York City.
“They’re very proud of me and told me I have their blessing, but I know they’ll be worried about me until I get home,” she said with a smile.
She knows the danger.
“I want to be a little scared because if I am little scared I’ll be thinking about everything I have to do to keep myself safe," she said.
We thank her and wish her a safe trip.