TAMUNING, Guam — One month after Typhoon Mawar lashed the U.S. territory of Guam with 140 mph sustained winds, recovery efforts are still underway to restore critical services. Among those supporting the response effort are Spc. Alora Finey and Pfc. Chase Camacho, combat medics with the Guam National Guard.
“I knew immediately after the typhoon, after seeing all of the damage, that I needed to help out,” said Finey. “I wanted to help out.”
Finey and Camacho are on territorial active duty — a type of National Guard mobilization ordered by the governor during emergencies — to help Guam Memorial Hospital cope with the surge of patients following the category 4 storm. They assist the full-time emergency room staff in conducting triage, collecting vitals, transporting patients, and more.
Sheryl De Guzman, unit supervisor of the GMH Emergency Room, said Typhoon Mawar caused a surge of patients not seen since the COVID-19 pandemic. With staff already stretched thin, De Guzman said Finey and Camacho are a big help.
“They really make a difference, especially with a lot of patients reporting into the ER. But we’re striving and surviving, just like everyone else,” said De Guzman.
Camacho, whose mother also serves in the Guam National Guard, said the staff at Guam Memorial Hospital has treated him like family, and he’s learned a lot of skills from the partner agency.
“I would like to say thank you to all the nurses and the ER staff here. They’ve been really supportive,” said Camacho. “And thank you to the Guard for giving me the opportunity to give back.”
Finey and Camacho are part of approximately 200 Guam Army and Air National Guard troops involved with typhoon recovery efforts, alongside U.S. Army Pacific’s Task Force West and Joint Region Marianas, in support of FEMA and the lead agencies of the government of Guam under Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
Guard Missions have included traffic control, clearing roads and relocating debris, repairing roofs and emergency commodity distribution.