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‘I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous’: Local firefighter traveling to Africa to fight Ebola

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Bothell firefighter Kelly Melton, a program director with EMPACT Northwest, will leave for Sierra Leone next week to help provide medical aid. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

SEATTLE — Local health care workers are heading to the front line of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus. Bothell firefighter Kelly Melton will leave for Sierra Leone next week to provide medical supplies and treat the sick.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” Melton said Tuesday. “It makes sense for me to go. I have the time, I have the knowledge, I have the ability, and, more importantly, I have the willingness.”

Melton is a program director with EMPACT Northwest, which provides medical aid to people in need. Melton has traveled to Sierra Leone multiple times since 2009. During her trips, she has made friends and now considers some of the children part of her family.

“When I think of them, I can’t imagine not going to help,” said Melton.

Other health care professionals have also made the choice to travel to Africa and treat patients.

“A lot of my family and friends, in fact, all of my family and friends have told me don’t go,” said nurse Marcus Bouma.

Bouma is traveling with a different organization to Liberia in late October.

Nurse Marcus Bouma is traveling with a different organization to Liberia in late October.

Nurse Marcus Bouma is traveling with a different organization to Liberia in late October.

“We are exposed to things every day, you just kind of compartmentalize it, and follow our training and, as a Christian, I rely a lot on my faith, too,” said Bouma.

Bouma and Melton will receive additional Ebola safety training. When they return, both have made plans to be quarantined for three weeks.

For more information about EMPACT Northwest: http://www.empactnorthwest.org/

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