Barco’s Nightingales Foundation honored ReSurge International’s volunteer nurse Elise Reay-Ellers with our Excellence in Nursing Award at the ReSurge Transformations Gala in October.  Since 2005, Elise has served as a nurse on nine ReSurge trips, including their first trip to Itigi, Tanzania in September of this year. In May, she was deployed to Kathmandu to assist the ReSurge Nepal team care for those injured in the earthquakes that devastated the country.


Her passion for helping others started when she was young. After college, she took a job at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, where she still lives today.  She then joined the Peace Corp and was assigned to Zaire, then Senegal.
“It was during this experience that I realized that I felt at home with other cultures,” said Elise. “Upon returning to the United States, I was encouraged by my father, a doctor, and my mother to pursue nursing, as I had made it clear I wanted to travel and be useful in the world. I remember my Dad saying ‘don’t go to medical school; it will take too long and you are so active you need to get going as soon as possible!’  I took his advice, earned my RN license and immediately started working as a post-op RN and pursuing overseas volunteer opportunities.”
Her first trip with ReSurge was to Quang Ngai, Vietnam – and she was “immediately hooked. I found myself spending all my vacation time overseas with surgical teams.”
Elise expressed her gratitude to all of us at our Foundation for “supporting and acknowledging nurses with a humanitarian purpose.”
We are proud to support ReSurge International as a member of our Community of Compassion and to honor Elise Reay-Ellers for her dedication to nursing and to going beyond to help others. For more on Elise, please watch this video that was shown at the gala.
~Michael and Frida Donner