More than 100 law enforcement officials and first responders showed their appreciation Inova Alexandria Hospital staff on Tuesday. Hospital doctors and nurses were applauded by Virginia State Police, Alexandria Police and Fire department officials holding signs, which thanked them and called them heroes.
“This is amazing, because there’s a war zone that we face every day,” nurse Keylin Mejia told ALXnow.
Hospital staff are routinely working more than 12-hour shifts, as hundreds of people have been treated in the hospital over the course of the last several weeks.
“We’ll get here around 6:30 a.m. and don’t leave until 9 p.m. on a good day,” nurse Chamika Battle told ALXnow. “It really is dangerous, and I really need people to understand that they really do need to stay home. Even if they don’t have it, they can still get it by someone else they don’t even know who sneezes or coughs nearby.”
Alexandria Fire Chief Corey Smedley was also there with a number of fire engines and staff.
“Today is, is a simple gesture of thanks to all the responders out there that are working in the front lines,” he said. “What you have out here is my department, emergency medical services, sheriff’s office, police, and, of course, our doctors and nurses. And we’re just here to say thank you.”
Inova Alexandria Hospital President Dr. Rina Bansal had a hard time expressing her feelings after walking outside.
“This is just tremendous. I don’t think it’s a feeling you can describe,” she said. “It’s inspiring. It’s amazing. Just know that we are continuing to move forward and take care of our patients and our community and my teams are working hard, but we are privileged to serve our community.”