Honoring Heroes: Commemorative Air Force recognizes Valley Baptist with fly-over

Two Commemorative Air Force Rio Grande Valley Wing AIRSHOW planes fly over Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville Wednesday morning to honer and recognize the sacrifice and dedication of all local healthcare professionals.

Wearing blue and green scrubs with face masks on, dozens of medical workers made their way through the parking lot at the Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville, as members of the Commemorative Air Force Rio Grande Valley Wing Airshow flew over to thank them for their sacrifice and dedication on Wednesday morning.

The fly over, which coincides with Hospital Week 2020, was a way of showing support to the local heroes who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The health care workers at the hospital enjoyed the short break from work as they looked up high to the blue sky and recorded the event with their smartphones.

“The team was really excited to see them. This is National Hospital Week; last week was National Nurses Week so we’ve been doing a lot of things to celebrate and recognize the team and we knew the fly over was planned last week but didn’t tell the staff here until this week and they have been very excited about it,” Leslie Bingham, chief executive officer at VBMC, said while addressing the press a few minutes after the show. “It was awesome.”

Bingham said it has been an honor to be able to witness all the appreciation gestures from the community and law enforcement to the health care workers and first responders. She added the feeling is bittersweet.

“It’s such an honor and to be here and witness it but it’s actually bittersweet. There’s something very celebratory about it but it also feels a little solemn,” she said. “There’s also a reference and, I think, an appreciation, particularly, for what health care workers and first responders are going through right now that made it extra special.”

Director of Strategy Brandon Mohler said the whole team has been very humbled by being able to serve Brownsville and it has been amazing to see the community coming together during this difficult time.

Healthcare Professionals at Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville look up as two Commemorative Air Force Rio Grande Valley Wing AIRSHOW planes fly over Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville Wednesday morning to honer and recognize the sacrifice and dedication of all local healthcare professionals.
Two Commemorative Air Force Rio Grande Valley Wing AIRSHOW planes fly over Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville Wednesday morning to honer and recognize the sacrifice and dedication of all local healthcare professionals.
Two Commemorative Air Force Rio Grande Valley Wing AIRSHOW planes fly over Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville Wednesday morning to honer and recognize the sacrifice and dedication of all local healthcare professionals.

“Whether it’s just words of encouragement, their own silent appreciation, the different things they can do at the hospital or this amazing fly over that happened; it really means a lot to us and our staff to know that we are in this together,” he said.

When asked for a message that he would like to share with all the health care heroes, Mohler said this is a very difficult time not only for the daily unknown environment at work but also the toll the virus has taken on families, friends and relationships.

“I guess that all I can say is ‘hang in there, we are very grateful to have you, we are very blessed’ and I think this is going to be an event that will resonate in history and we won’t really ever truly know the sacrifices that these heroes have made but we are very grateful,” he said.

In regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohler said they are going through the second wave and he recommends the community to pay attention to what local officials are saying. He said the pandemic remains a very serious situation.

“ e experienced the first wave that wasn’t maybe as bad as we thought it would be and now we are going through the second wave, that seems to be what we were expecting the first wave to be like,” he said. “Pay attention to what your local officials are saying, what CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is saying, what the local health providers are saying because this does remain a very serious situation and we need to pay the respect it deserves.”

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com