PHOTOS: CT Air National Guard salutes healthcare workers with flyover across the state

Coronavirus

(WTNH) — The Connecticut Air National Guard saluted state healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with a flyover on Thursday.

Shortly after noon, workers began to gather outside Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London. Some working long shifts, others providing acute care. 

“They’re standing beside those families, they’re caring for the sickest of the sick, while caring for each other and their families at home,” said L&M Hospital President and CEO Patrick Green.

He joined his employees in watching the Connecticut National Guard pay tribute to healthcare workers. 

The C-130H first taking to the sky in Torrington and then heading across the state to New Haven, Hartford, and Bristol.

“I really thought it was an awesome tribute to the healthcare community,” said Darius Erami, Director of Support Services, Bristol Hospital.

Operation American Resolve is honoring those who put their lives on the line to save lives during this pandemic.

“Thought it would be important to come down and show our support for all the great nurses and doctors here and it just amazes me what they’re doing here,” said Mark Taylor, of East Lyme. 

He and his wife Debbie brought their daughter Brooke to L&M to experience this high flying tribute.

“I thought it was really nice. I like seeing all the nurses and everything come out. I wanted to say thank you to them because I know they’re working really hard,” said Brooke Taylor.

Not only did this allow the healthcare workers to experience a very special thank you but it also gave them some time outside the hospitals where they have been working so hard.

“Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down but thanks for the support like we have throughout our state, the National Guard we saw today, it really makes it that much better,” said Green.

Manchester police captured video of the plane as it flew towards the hospital in town. The journey full of meaning ended in Enfield. It touched hearts and raised spirits along the way.

“I thought it was really exciting, interesting just to witness it and have my daughter witness it,” said Debbie Taylor.

WEB EXTRA: CT Air National Guard flyover for first responders

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“They are making differences in people’s lives on a daily basis, regardless of whether or not we go through a global pandemic, so to say thank you, I think is incredibly appropriate,” said Captain David Pytlik.

“Defending the homeland has taken a new shape, and the Connecticut National Guard is proud to serve alongside the first responders and essential personnel in the COVID-19 response efforts,” said Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, The Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard. “This is our way of showing appreciation to the thousands of heroes at the front line battling COVID-19. We are humbled by their sacrifices.”

“There are so many front line workers across Connecticut providing care for people who have been impacted by the pandemic, and this is our way of saluting them and saying thank you,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “They are true heroes, and the amount of good they are providing our state is immeasurable.”

Pytlik said the flyover took place over 39 different hospitals between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“When we say, ‘never forget,’ we need to mean never forget that what they do every day, whether it’s for COVID response or it’s working with surgery patients in the ER, every day, they’re saving lives,” he said.

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