EL PASO, Texas - An organization steps up to help out a health provider after seeing a story on ABC-7 profiling the trouble its nurses were having with parking downtown.
ABC-7 reported in June how nurses with Epic Health Services who were caring for a sick child living in an apartment in Downtown El Paso were being cited for parking in residential zones without a permit -- and being forced to feed parking meters for up to 16 hours daily while they cared for the boy.
The city had told ABC-7 nothing would be done to relax the parking rules downtown to accommodate the nurses.
Meanwhile, the cost for metered parking was adding up. The nurses had been paying out-of-pocket for meters since April, when the parking zones went into effect.
"It was about $55 per nurse per week that we are paying for," said Robert Yocom, the executive director of Epic. "We have two full-time and two part-time nurses working the case. We're working 6 a.m. to 10 at night. A lot of hours serviced."
Nicholas Quarm with the El Paso Scottish Rite, a Freemason chapter, contacted ABC-7 to offer his organization's help.
"I saw your story about the nurses and heard they were having difficulty finding parking while serving the community by taking care of a child," said Quarm. "We'd like to offer the nurses some parking passes so they can park in our parking lot, which is available at any time."
The Scottish Rite's parking lot is on Missouri Avenue, right across the street from Southwest University Park, and down the street from the family's apartment. The lot is private, with a locked, wrought-iron gate and a security camera.
ABC-7 helped facilitate a meeting between the two men in the parking lot, where Quarm handed over two passes to Yocom.
Yocom told ABC-7 the Scottish Rite's generosity was a huge weight off his shoulders.
"It is really close. We just walk by the side of the building by the ballpark. It's in the shade, as opposed to walking though the traffic. It's a huge time saver ... and we don't have to come and re-feed the meter," Yocom added. "It's a win/win, definitely, all the way around. We really appreciate what the Scottish Rite has done."
Quarm said the parking passes will be good through the year -- and he anticipates them being renewed for the foreseeable future.