"I'm so glad we're bored," says Leisa McMullen.

A registered nurse, McMullen is one of several medical professionals volunteering this week in the Jimmy Carter Work Project's first aid trailer. "A lot of people took their vacation time to come do this," she says. This is her first experience at a Habitat build -- "but it won't be my last."

The first aid centers at each work site have seen a variety of minor cuts and a few rashes, most likely allergic reactions to certain ingredients in the sunscreens the volunteers have been using, McMullen says.

The bulk of visitors have come for heat-related reasons. Many, the first aid staffers say, have been volunteers from other parts of the country, who are not used to the extreme heat and humidity that have been present this week and misjudged the amount of fluids and rest they needed.

"They're dedicated, they just want to be out there," says Whitney Caruso, an administrator at the Baylor College of Medicine. The first aid team traveled throughout the sites on Monday to remind the volunteers of strategies for coping with the heat. "We have an airhorn we were blowing, getting people's attention, telling them to drink, drink, drink," she says. As the week has progressed, participants' awareness has increased and visits to the first aid sites have dramatically tapered off.

Baylor College of Medicine staff are coordinating the medical professionals who have volunteered. Doctors and registered nurses are on call at each site, and minivans regulary patrol in case a volunteer or homeowner might need medical attention. Donations of medical supplies have been arranged by Houston's Methodist Hospital. A nearby trauma center has also been standing by in case of an emergency, but their services have not yet been needed.

This medical team has graciously offered to provide for the first aid needs at next year's Jimmy Carter Work Project in the Philippines. In the meantime, the first aid volunteers hope to remain as bored as they are this morning. "Over at Magnolia Park," McMullen says, "the volunteers were playing 'who wants to be the patient now' because no one was coming in."

Other Stories from the 1998 JCWP
JCWP Homeowners:
Betty and Seff Polk

What does a Habitat house mean? "It's God's love, and a new foundation for the family," says Betty Polk.

More stories:
John and Belvin Richard
Nancy Rosas
Olga Martinez
Wade and Shalina Gibson
JCWP Volunteers:
Campus Chapters

Student volunteers are building two houses at this year's Jimmy Carter Work Project.

More stories:
Eunita Shields
First Ladies for Habitat
Joanne and Greg Janson
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter
JCWP Behind the Scenes:
Security volunteers

Who are those volunteers wearing the yellow "caution" tape? And what do they do?

More stories:
The Green Team
Food Service
Day-By-Day Photo Journal | 1998 JCWP Home Page

JCWP Overviews: 1984-96 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000

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