Standing outside St. Francis Hospital this morning, Archbishop Leonard Blair of the Hartford Archdiocese said a prayer, not only for the sick but also for those treating them.
That blessing was among the many events Wednesday marking the beginning of National Nurse Appreciation Week, an annual recognition that has rarely taken on more significance.
“They’re the real heroes of life who sustain us and help us to live and I don’t think it could be more true than it is right now,” Blair said.
Amidst a global pandemic, those on Connecticut’s front line were honored around the state. A parade was held in East Hartford. Signs of gratitude decorated the landscape, food and gifts were donated, all as hospital assemblies recognized, nurses’ sacrifice and dedication.
“Our nurses come to work every day, geared up for battle,” said Kim Richard, chief nursing officer at St. Francis Hospital.
With over 1,400 people still hospitalized with COVID -19, nurses describe 12 hour shifts, risking their own health for the sake of others.
“It’s completely about healing. Completely about resilience. About coming together and about doing things differently,” said Evelyn Trinidad, nurse manager at St. Francis Hospital.
At Hartford Hospital, nurses were honored by the governor and by the hospital CEO. Jeff Flaks said he was in awe of what nurses there have been able to accomplish since treating its first COVID-19 patient eight weeks ago.
“I know we’ve got a team of people who are trained, prepared and this is your moment,” said Flaks while delivering a moving speech directed toward the Hartford Hospital nursing staff. “This is when the community needs us most.”
Hartford Hospital was established in 1854. Since then, countless health battles have been won. Providing inspiration for those taking on this health crisis.
“In 166 years, we have protected, secured and cared for this community,” said Flaks. “It’s because of the people who stand here today that we will continue to do this in the future.”