KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A trip to help disaster relief has taken a turn a Scott County family never would have imagined.
Chad King spent 10 weeks in Puerto Rico working as a fiber optic splicer, helping the area rebuild after the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. After a short trip back home to Oneida, he caught the flu virus.
"It's been crazy, the not knowing, coming into a place they don't speak English. In Puerto Rico, they don't provide anything at the hospital. You have to bring their pillows, blankets, diapers, baby wipes, all the way down to shampoo," said Heather King, Chad's wife.
Heather King says she grew concerned when she didn't hear from her husband after he arrived back to work in Puerto Rico. She contacted his coworker to check on him. She says the coworker found him in his apartment, unconscious.
"It's been hard because they're missing everybody, and I miss the kids. It's hard to see him. He can't talk or show us if he hurts," said King.
Heather King says the language barrier has been difficult and wants to bring her husband back to the mainland United States for treatment, but the cost for a proper medical plane is $30,000.
"It's been hard because, you know, I don't have money coming in anymore. The worry of that also." said Heather King.
Thousands of miles away, Heather and Chad King's friends are trying to make that happen.
"Just to be home... so many unknowns. When you have the support of your family and community, that can make a lot of difference to how somebody feels." said friend Kesse Cross.
The community started a GoFundMe account for Chad King's return.
Her friends have set up other opportunities for donations in Oneida. Through the United Cumberland Bank, donations can be made to Heather King directly.
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