A Florida International University student is back home in South Florida after being sent to New Jersey to work on the frontlines of the pandemic - and he is only 19 years old.
NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz spoke to Dylan Hinton about the opportunity.
SHELI: You’re a biology major and you serve in the Army Reserve, how did this opportunity happen?
HINTON: Well, thank you, thank you for having me. This opportunity was quite rapid when it happened. One day I was home when I was sent virtually from FIU, my commander called me one day and said hey, this is happening in the Northeast, the situation is getting pretty serious we're going to need you to come with us and help out the situation, we didn't know where we were going at the time, but you know, we were ready.
SHELI: You were telling me on the phone that you have asthma, so did you ever think that you could get this?
HINTON: Well, of course, at first I was kind of hesitant to go but just kind of seeing everything that's been on the news being in a position where I could do something and help out, I couldn't just sit behind and watch the nurses just become continually overwhelmed and understaffed, they themselves were catching the virus so I knew that if I could help regardless of my well-being, I was just ready to help any way I could.
SHELI: What'd your parents say?
HINTON: Well, of course, they were reluctant. They didn't really agree with it at first, but I, kind of, told them this is something that I want to do, this is something that I need to do.
SHELI: So, how did you balance being a sophomore in college and helping people survive COVID-19?
HINTON: Well, I really have to thank the wonderful staff at FIU for that, a first, I contacted the dean, I explained the situation, I said, 'hey, um, I'm a Reservist, I'm in this area helping out with the coronavirus, school is kind of piling up right now, is there any way we can get me in some sort of situation that kind of helps out my academic side?’
SHELI: I'm sure they're very proud of your work. Dylan, you saw so much up there. You saw a lot of loss too. What do you want people to know as our numbers are surging right now?
HINTON: I think it's very important right now to realize that this is not about us individually, it's about us collectively, because what you do does affect the people around you. Wearing a mask is important, following the guidelines by the CDC, WHO, and local officials is very important.
To avoid seeing what we saw in the northeast in different hotspots is very important, to avoid overwhelming the unfortunate hospital staff that we saw over in New Jersey, to avoid just that happening again.