TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - On Sunday evening, the East Texas community made sure that hospital employees at UT Health East Texas knew how appreciated they were.
Community members filled parking lots and lined streets surrounding the Tyler hospital during an evening shift change. They honked their horns, flashed their cars’ lights and held up homemade signs.
“The support is amazing,” said Noralea Page, a registered nurse at the hospital. “This is a very difficult time for us, and to know we’re supported and loved and to know people are thinking about us, it makes my heart huge.”
Page and her coworkers just finished a shift at the ICU in the hospital. They were greeted by the sights and sounds of support.
“The nurses, doctors, housekeepers; everybody working here,” said Page. “It’s greatly appreciated and we cannot thank them enough.”
People began filling the parking lots as early as 6 p.m. and stayed well past 7 p.m.
“Our nurses are coming in during this really difficult, challenging time because they care for our community, they’re doing what’s right to extend their mission and caring for the people around them,” said Christy Escandon, the chief nursing officer for the hospital. “This show of support, back to the staff, is immeasurable and it goes to show the heart of what this community is all about.”
Ron Shultz and Steuart Heaton are the two volunteer chaplains behind the event.
“Jesus Christ says in the scripture, ‘no greater love has a man, than to give his life for a friend’,” said Heaton. “It makes your heart go out to those wonderful, skilled, caring people putting their lives out there for us.”
The chaplains said the support isn’t just for the nurses.
“Unappreciated are the people who cook the meals, clean the rooms, do all the work along with the doctors and nurses,” said Heaton. “Not just at the hospital, but the rehab facility, extended care facility; there’s so many people who are selflessly taking care of others.”
Page and her coworkers said they’d love if this event became a weekly occurrence.
The chaplains said they’re hoping those who couldn’t make it are also praying for hospital staff, their families and ill patients across the country.