Utah family with members living in Liberia discuss impact of Ebola outbreak

Posted at 9:47 PM, Aug 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-02 23:50:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah family living in Liberia is about to return home as the worst case of Ebola outbreak in history kills hundreds.

Nick Parkinson has been living and working in Liberia for the past year. He lives there with his wife and 6-month-old daughter. After a week of trying to book a flight home, they’ve made plans to return August 10.

“I think one of the most telling facts is that he is leaving,” said Nick’s brother Pat Parkinson. “If there were any way he could stay and be relatively safe with his family, I think how happy he was with the way his projects were going, he would stay.”

Leaving Liberia was not an easy decision for Nick Parkinson.

“For me, it’s get out of there, get home, but it’s different for him, he’s had a commitment there for creating exports for goods and helping the people, it’s going to be very hard for him,” said Nick’s dad, Scott Parkinson.

Many members of the Parkinson family have spent time in Liberia. In September 2013, Pat stayed at a guest house with Nancy Writebol. She is one of the two Americans to be infected with the virus while in the country.

“It sent chills through me as you can imagine, her face was so recognizable.” That’s how Pat reacted the moment he found out Writebole was infected.

He recalled the last time he saw her, right before he left the guest house where they were staying.

"I was taking off, it’s almost like she made a point to grab me before I left and we had one last stop and chat before I walked out the door and that image of Nancy was cemented in my brain," he said.

The other American infected, Dr. Kent Brantly, was flown back to the U.S. on Saturday, and is currently being cared for in isolation at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital.