UPDATE: Raleigh County couple will return to New York to help colleagues in overwhelmed funeral homes

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DANIELS, WV (WVNS) UPDATE 5/17/2020 7:30 p.m. – A Raleigh County couple is packing their bags once again to go help their colleagues in a COVID-19 hotspot.

Chris and Heather Besoui, are returning to New York on Monday, May 18, 2020. Last month they spent more than two weeks helping overwhelmed funeral homes outside of Manhattan that are owned by the same company they work for here in West Virginia.

They say their colleagues still need help…and they couldn’t sit back and do nothing.

“”We kept saying we would do it in a heartbeat and we’re lucky and very fortunate to have this opportunity,” Chris told 59 News. “It’s not only to educate or community but everyone in our industry are our brothers and sisters.”

As of right now, they are scheduled to fly back to west Virginia on May 29th.

DANIELS, WV (WVNS) – Chris and Heather Besoiu are back home in Raleigh County after a physically and emotionally exhausting few weeks.

“I can only describe in so many words what we saw,” Heather said on a video interview with 59News.

The pair is currently quarantining for two weeks. On April 8th, the couple landed in New York to work at funeral homes about 30 miles outside Manhattan. These funeral homes are owned by the same company they work for in West Virginia.

“Heather’s primary role was to go to the hospitals and nursing homes to bring people’s loved ones who had passed away into the funeral home,” Chris said.

“They are kept in a tractor trailer at the hospital which is a make shift morgue,” Heather described. “It is indescribable because you have to move certain people just to get to another one cause so many are dying.”

During a time when our greatest strength is to be apart, passing away means leaving the world you know behind without the comfort of loved ones near you. The Besoius felt this only multiplies grief in a time of distress. So, Chris worked with families by phone and email to schedule intimate services which complied with CDC guidelines.

“We did have personal protective equipment like masks and gloves available for family members that didn’t have those,” Chris recalled. “But if they were tested for COVID-19 or were in contact with a loved one who passed away from COVID-19, they could not come into the funeral home.”

Which they said was the toughest thing for them to witness.

“Not being able to say goodbye is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do because you’re not able to open those bags or see those people ever again,” Heather stressed.

While workdays consisted of a minimum of 15-hour shifts, Heather and Chris said they would fly back to help again tomorrow. They said this is the greatest move in their careers.

“The best thing that we did was help our sister locations,” Heather said. “New York is strong they will get through this.”

In just two weeks, they prepped and arranged funerals for more than 100 people. Chris said multiple small services were held a day.

They will both return to work at local funeral homes in the Mountain State after finishing their two week quarantine.

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