SoCal veteran shares experience working as a nurse on the front line of COVID-19 battle

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- A former Navy medic who served in Afghanistan is seeing similar duty as a licensed vocational nurse during this pandemic.

"I just hope that I make my kids proud," Nathan Solares said.

At 31-years-old, Solares has fought in two wars. He served eight years as a U.S. Navy corpsman, and in 2012, he did a tour to Afghanistan to work at a hospital.

"When I was in Afghanistan I definitely saw a lot of casualties, people getting shot, blown up. And it prepared me to be able to understand what death is," he explained.

The second war he's been fighting is here at home.

Solares works as a nurse at Cadence Hospice in Orange County, providing end-of-life care to COVID-19 patients.

"Being able to take care of veterans during their hospice care I think is very important because in the military you're taught that no one gets left behind," said Solares.

Tracy Greenberg, executive director of Candence Hospice, said she knew Solares had a special skill set when she hired him.

"He actually didn't come with a lot of hospice experience, but he came with a lot of life experience," she said.
As a night runner, Solares typically works from five in the evening to eight the next morning.

He visits patients' rooms, providing mental and physical care, acting as a loved one during their final hours.

"Making sure that the patient is comfortable first of all, because that's our main goal. And second, reassuring the family that we're there for the benefit of them," he said.

Solares has had to sacrifice spending time with his children to keep them safe from the virus.

He said just as he is proud to have served his country, he is proud to serve his Orange County community.

"Where I come from, doing something like this, I could have never imagined doing. Making a difference not only in my community, but being an example and role model for my kids," said Solares.

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