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First responders hold dawn brigade to thank Stanford hospital workers for COVID-19 care

Public safety officers held a thank-you procession outside Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, recognizing care of COVID-19 patients.

At dawn on Thursday, as hospital shifts were changing over from night to day, public safety officers from across Silicon Valley gathered outside Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford to show their gratitude for those working inside during the coronavirus pandemic.

With their vehicle lights flashing, the officers -- in uniform and personal protective equipment -- formed "clapping zones" and cheered for the arriving and departing nurses, doctors and other health care workers.

The thank-you brigade brought personnel from a dozen different departments: Stanford Department of Public Safety; San Mateo County Sheriff's Office; California Highway Patrol; Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Mountain View police and fire departments; Los Altos Police Department; Foothill/De Anza Police Department; and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The health care workers showed their appreciation in return. Walking by in a line, they held letters that spelled out the message, "Thank you for sharing the front line with us," which was later posted in hospital windows for all to see.

Throughout the country, first responders have been holding processions to lighten the spirits of health care workers and convey that they are one team, united by their common mission to care for people.

Alison Kerr, chief administrative officer of clinical operations and vice president of the neuroscience and orthopedic service lines, said Thursday's celebration highlighted the close working relationship that has always existed between law enforcement, first responders and Stanford health care workers. 

"There's a bond between first responders and our front-line health workers. They're often handing off patients or they're connecting under very stressful circumstances," she said.

Photos by Katherine Emery   

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