Local first responders honor hospital workers with big show of gratitude

Departments strung giant American flags in front of hospitals

ROANOKE, Va. – Sirens and horns filled the night sky across the Roanoke Valley on Thursday night, all to honor healthcare workers putting their lives on the line. Multiple police and fire departments came together for the show of support.

“When it comes down to this they are absolutely part of our family, we want to rally around them and show them that they are appreciated," Roanoke Fire-EMS Chief David Hoback said.

Both Roanoke Memorial Hospital and LewisGale in Salem were honored in the display. Trucks lined the streets, while people lined the walkways to the doors to greet people as they came and went. Ladder trucks draped giant American flags in front of the hospitals.

“Find a way to recognize the doctors and nurses that are at the forefront of this battle, and this is just our little way of showing them some appreciation,” Salem Fire-EMS Chief John Prillaman said.

Crowds cheered for workers from practitioners to maintenance employees who either arrived at work, or left during shift change.

Rachelle Balthis is a unit director at RMH’s emergency room. She was happy to see the support and said sometimes you forget the world outside when you’re in the thick of it.

“It shows that we’re all fighting together and we’re not alone, even though sometimes it feels like it, but just these displays," Balthis said.

Life-Guard circled numerous times over the display at RMH for photo opportunities and to show support. Staff who couldn’t make it outside peered at the crowd through windows.

“The teamwork comes in many different job titles and attire and it’s just nice to see the community get together cause we’re all in this together,” Balthis said.

The departments are also planning to honor employees at the Salem Veterans Administration Hospital next week.

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