When Massapequa Park resident Anthony Amato takes a vacation from his job as a registered nurse, it's a working vacation.
At the moment, he's spending his time off as a volunteer for Mercy Ships aboard a hospital ship moored at Sierra Leone, in Africa.
Amato volunteers as a post-anesthesia care unit nurse in the pediatric ward of what Mercy says is "the world's largest private hospital ship, the Africa Mercy."
The floating hospital provides free care, including corrective surgeries like cleft lip and palate, tumor removal, and orthopedics.
He left Feb. 25 and will return March 29, said Kathy Gohmert, a spokeswoman for Mercy Ships.
"Many people dream of taking a leap and making a difference in the world. Sadly, for most, it remains just a dream," Gohmert says in a Mercy Ships press release about Amato.
"But there are the golden few who make that dream a reality."
Amato raised money on his own to pay his way and, Gohmert says, "his heart and mind are changed forever through this experience."