By Eric Rosario
We have heard countless stories of our people doing what is needed to help others in need of help as a result of the Coronavirus. Our island has always recovered from the likes of severe natural disasters that most communities would not be able to recover from. Part of the reason is Guam truly does have a generous private sector, and this has demonstrated itself yet again.
Dr. Margaret Hattori Uchima, dean of the University of Guam School of Nursing, was asked, when the crisis started, to check daily on the needs of the Guam Memorial Hospital. Not commonly known was the hospital was frequently running low on alcohol for hand sanitizers. The University lab, with support from Uchima, was making gallons of alcohol daily.
Dr. Uchima started reaching out to friends for help and called on businessman Peter Sgro. During the years he worked on the vision and development of the Guam Regional Medical City, she served on the board of directors of his foundation that spearheaded that hospital project. Their passion for improving care for our island continued to today.
Dr. Uchima explained to Mr. Sgro that GMH needed isolation gowns to protect nurses and doctors who would come in contact with COVID-19 patients. He later learned that the hospital needed 700 isolation gowns, then was called by the Archdiocese that it needed 100 gowns to protect priests. The total cost for the 800 isolation gowns was $40,000.
Mr. Sgro raised the $40,000 in three days. First, he challenged the University Foundation to match his personal donation of $10,000. The Foundation matched his donation. Mr. Sgro raised the remaining $20,000 in donations from Ada’s Trust and Investment, the Rotary Club of Northern Guam and GPO. All the isolation gowns were subsequently ordered and delivered for use.
“Our community needs a lot of help especially now,” said Mr. Sgro. "Dr Uchima and I are very passionate about the serious need to raise the standard of care in our community. We must always place an emphasis on fostering a safe delivery of care system and it was a pleasure working with the University on this project."