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WATCH NOW: Flyover a perfect way to honor the front-line workers at Nebraska's hospitals
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WATCH NOW: Flyover a perfect way to honor the front-line workers at Nebraska's hospitals

From the Latest updates on coronavirus in Lincoln and nearby series
Nebraska National Guard flyover

A Nebraska National Guard KC-135 flies over Bryan East Campus on its tour to salute health care workers on Monday.

Nurses and phlebotomists and therapists, office workers and technicians and administrators wandered out of CHI St. Elizabeth and looked up on a sunny Monday afternoon.

Across 70th Street, health care workers from the VA clinic dotted the expansive lawn.

And before long, a KC-135 Stratotanker flew overhead, at a socially distant 1,000 to 1,500 feet — the Nebraska National Guard’s way of saying thank you.

"This is our special way of honoring our health care professionals and neighbors for how they have responded and come together as Nebraskans during these unprecedented times," said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Nebraska National Guard adjutant general.

The flyover was part of a pre-planned training flight and included more than 30 Nebraska hospitals, ending with those in Lincoln. Pilots must perform a minimum number of flight hours annually.

National Guard flyover

“I think it’s great,” said Anne Millman, a phlebotomist who stood among the masked health care workers outside St. Elizabeth. “I think it’s super cool.”

Leah Julian, a registered nurse who works in outpatient services, said it’s a nice “nod” and acknowledgement to those who are working with COVID-19 patients.

Nurses volunteered to work on those units, said Rhonda Souchek, a registered nurse in the St. Elizabeth wound center. Many of the volunteers were young and single and volunteered so those with families at home they wanted to protect didn’t have to, she said.

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The plane flew over, coming from the east and heading toward the Bryan East and West campuses, and those in scrubs and masks and office attire pointed their phones skyward, then applauded.

Connie Johnson and Ardel Daffer stood on the sidelines, cheering, too.

Both women are retired and decided to come to the hospital as a show of support.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to say thanks to the front-line workers,” Johnson said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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