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Delivery Service Nurse Justin Chaize organizes needed help in Mexico.

As COVID-19 spread around the world last spring, Justin Chaize, a registered nurse and a School of Nursing graduate student, made a split-second decision to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, to deliver as much personal protective equipment (PPE) as he could to assist health care workers.

Mexico’s health care system had been neglected well before the pandemic. When COVID-19 struck, there were severe shortages of PPE. But donating a valued resource at a time of dire need is no simple procedure. After collecting donations in Rochester, Chaize worked through family members as well as Mexico’s Secretary of Health to make connections with health care workers in Guadalajara’s province of Jalisco—and to verify the legitimacy of those workers.

And then he got on the plane. “It was really bad in Mexico City,” he says, “and I had to transfer through there. I was very nervous. I had a whole [protective] suit on. I didn’t get any food or drink. I just sat there in a chair.”