Following the tragic death of her 18-year-old brother as a result of the Merrimack Valley explosions, one Massachusetts woman is earning her degree in public health with the ambition to help people in her community suffering from tragedies the way she and her family have endured.
Lucia Rondon, the older sister of Leonel Rondon, graduated on Saturday from the Northern Essex Community College. Her goal is to become a community health worker to help others in her hometown of Lawrence.
Leonel was killed last September when a chimney fell atop his car during a series of explosions that were caused by over-pressurized natural gas lines. The explosions injured at least two others and displaced more than 8,000 residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
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With her degree, Lucia plans to continue her education at Regis College. The 29-year-old has eight years of experience as a certified registered nurse.
Lucia plans to help others by decreasing language barriers and social disparities around health-related issues.
Leonel's family recently reached a settlement with Columbia Gas, the company behind the disaster. They will receive an undisclosed monetary settlement, a motorized wheelchair, a mobility van and modifications to their home.