It took just a few seconds as a pair of F-16 jets soared across the skies above Springfield Regional Hospital on Thursday. For hospital employees, area fire and EMT workers and several people gathered to watch, it left their spirits as high as the aircrafts.
The flyby, conducted by the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, was part of Operation American Resolve, honoring those fighting the COVID-10 pandemic and helping boost Ohioans’ spirits.
The effort saw several similar flybys throughout Ohio starting on Wednesday and concluding Thursday. Springfield was the grand finale of the tour.
As this is National Nurses Week and response to the pandemic and other healthcare needs have kept staff attention, this was a fitting tribute according to Adam Groshans, president of Mercy Health Springfield.
“It’s been a challenge this year given everything that has happened,” he said. “We’ve had to postpone some of our bigger things, but this is a tremendous boost of morale to our employees. There’s a solid representation of employees of the hospital here.”
Necks were craned upward and masked faces had eyes widened as the aircrafts buzzed in from the west, with several applauding. As quickly as they appeared, the planes circled over the city and headed back west.
Although the flyby wasn’t announced until late Wednesday afternoon, Springfield Regional sent a message out and word spread with many people watching from the parking lot.
Even staff not on duty set up to experience the moment. Brianna Bostick, a step down nurse for Springfield Regional who has been off for a month due to pregnancy but going back next week, brought her family, who watched from the bed of a pickup truck.
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Lynn Payton, Brianna’s mom, is proud to have three family members including a husband who is a corrections officer and son in food service along with Brianna, who are on the front lines during this time.
“These are people who take a risk every day. This is a cool honor for the staff here,” Payton said.
Springfield fire and EMT crews also responded, lining the parking lots with several vehicles and personnel.
“We’re here to support the hospital like they support us,” said Capt. Kenneth Bowen. He said the past few weeks during the pandemic have been unlike any he’s seen in his 27 years of service.
“It’s a different life,” he said.
Just as soon as the flyover finished, Springfield Regional staff swiftly went back to their duties. Groshans is proud of the associates he works pointing to a recent success story.
A husband and wife who had COVID-19 both recovered. The husband was released on Wednesday after spending several weeks there and the area can be confident there with health needs, Groshans said.
“Those were fantastic outcomes,” he said. “We’re spending tremendous time and resources to keep up the care in our community.”
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