(WKBN) – A show of support in the sky took place Monday morning for our local first responders.
“Hercs Over America” honors those who have been so crucial in the fight against COVID-19.
It was part of a special C-130 training mission. The job was to show those who keep us healthy and safe just how important they really are.
They stood out in parking lots, many wearing their scrubs and masks, their eyes to the skies around Mercy Health’s three hospitals in the area, hoping to catch a glimpse of an Air Force flyover salute.
“I was watching the one on New Work. We were watching it online. I was hoping they did something like that here,” said registered nurse Dana Gates.
Commanders with the 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna approved the unique training mission that sent two C-130H Hercules aircraft over hospitals in Erie, Cleveland, Akron and the Mahoning Valley.
“You know, we get an amazing amount of support from the community. So this is our way to give back and to show our appreciation of this particular battle here that they’re going through,” said Col. Casey Dodds.
“To have the 910 Airwing do this for us when they stand ready to serve every day in this country is extremely meaningful to all of us,” said Kathleen Harley, president of St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown.
Gates said she was honored by the flyover, admitting it has been a long, emotional journey for those on the front lines as well as patients and their families.
“I know how hard it’s been keeping families — because you can’t have visitors — keeping family up to date on what’s going on with their family members,” Gates said.
Eighteen medical specialists from the Reserve Base were sent to New York City to help with the outbreak there. Many of them work at hospitals here in the Valley, giving this exercise even more significance.