VIDEO: Healthcare workers, first responders spread the love during Operation Thank You

Look, we don’t mean to be critical, especially when it comes to Long Beach’s healthcare workers and first responders, but, frankly, it was difficult for anyone covering Wednesday’s “Operation Thank You” parade running through both Long Beach Memorial and St. Mary medical centers, to figure out exactly what was going on? We mean, exactly who was being honored?

Was it the healthcare workers who stood outside their hospitals—a welcome change of scenery, they told us—to be celebrated with siren blasts from a long line of emergency vehicles from Long Beach fire and police departments? Or was it the folks from fire and police, who drove by to the exuberant shouts and woots of a long line of healthcare workers?

It probably didn’t really matter. St. Mary’s and Memorial are trauma centers and so the healthcare workers and first responders see each other on a regular basis. Wednesday’s parade only offered them a chance to formalize the respect they share for each other on a daily basis.

And, as Audrey Kinney-King, a nurse who works in St. Mary’s respiratory care center said, “it was just nice to be outside.”

It turns out that not only are healthcare workers spending long hours inside their hospitals, isolated from the rest of the world, they are also isolated from each other as they work in their respective departments. So, when they saw the light of day, and each other, as you would expect, they went a little happy. Like happy! The energy as they stood along the parade route in their color-coded scrubs, laughing, shouting, waving, had the feel of a company, or high school, picnic.

That same energy was thrown at the fire and police vehicles as they passed and the fire and police folks threw the energy and respect right back at the assembled, the whole thing turning into one big mutual admiration event.

It was all made official when the staffs at both hospitals were presented with a “Certificate of Recognition” from the office of Mayor Robert Garcia. Though, clearly, that was just stating the obvious: these two groups clearly recognized the value in each other. (Steve Lowery)

A Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Cente RN takes a photo with Long Beach firefighters during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Long Beach police and fire vehicles make their way to the two local hospitals for a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A sign is displayed at the entrance of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center as police and fire vehicles make their way in for a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Long Beach Memorial Medical Center medical staff wave at passing Long Beach police and fire vehicles during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Brian Weidman, Deputy Fire Marshal, waves to the medical staff while riding in a Long Beach fire engine at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova

Hospital staff receives a box of face coverings at Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Center during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Long Beach Assistant Fire Chief Paul Alvarado presents to Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center staff during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Lauren Peiser, RN, holds her poster as she prepares to take a photo with Long Beach firefighters at Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Center during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

CSULB police officer Dolgorouky stands with other police officers at] Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Center during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Commander Jeffrey Liberman left, stands with Long Beach fire and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center staff during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova

Long Beach Assistant Fire Chief Paul Alvarado presents to Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center staff during a Thank You parade in Long Beach Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

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Cheantay Jensen is an editorial intern who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.
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