If you talk to the group of National Guardsmen who came to Floyd Medical Center at the end of March to provide medical assistance, you can’t help but come away with the impression that they were enriched by the experience.
Their last day at the hospital was Thursday, but they will continue serving in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their next mission will be to assist at various testing sites.
“We were truly blessed to come here,” said Capt. Frances Burress. “The leadership here was proactive. The community totally took care of us; the hospital took care of us. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to walk into not knowing anybody. And now we are walking away with a new family.”
Sgt. Christina Tomassini said she would be willing to come back and work at Floyd.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I learned a whole lot from these guys. The Infectious Disease Unit was really well put together and they were a great team to work with.”
One member of the unit will definitely be back. When he is not serving with the National Guard, Maj, Danny Rogers is physician’s assistant at the hospital’s Emergency Care Center.
Other members included A1C Abigail Lang, TSgt. Ivon Denman, Sgt. Joshua Compton, SSgt. Marc Etienne, Sgt. Duanno Johnson, A1C Hayden McAlister and Capt. Sarah Kathe.
Shannon Cooke, Clinical Manager of the Intensive Care Unit, repeated one word several times when discussing the citizen-soldiers: invaluable.
“I really can’t say enough about them,” Cooke said. “They just jumped right in there. I didn’t have to ask them to do anything. From Day 1 they were part of our team.”