Faith-based organization assesses Valley’s needs amid COVID-19 surge

McALLEN — In light of surging COVID-19 activity in the Rio Grande Valley, the congressman here partnered with a faith-based organization on Monday to appraise the situation.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez and Edward Graham, the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, stood together at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce boardroom to make the announcement.

Graham was on hand as a representative of Samaritan’s Purse, which has deployed field hospitals in New York, Italy and Alaska in the fight against the coronavirus, according to their website.

The press conference was held following a meeting with South Texas hospital administrators, county, state and federal officials to discuss the project’s feasibility.

Gonzalez has been rallying every available resource of the federal, state and county governments, and outside organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, to combat the COVID-19 crisis, his staff said in a news release Monday.

The group drew criticism from officials and the public during its coronavirus response efforts in New York earlier this year, particularly for its stance on LGBTQ+ individuals.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases in the Rio Grande Valley hit record highs and deaths continue to mount.