Nurses recognized for their work in Parkersburg and across the U.S.
“Can you imagine the bravery that it takes of these nurses every day? So as you see them please appreciate them and please thank them."
Those are the words of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice as he thanked nurses for their work amid the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. He signed a proclamation recognizing the nationally celebrated "Nurses Day" as well on Wednesday.
“One more level of gratitude for the great work that these heroes have done, and they're just that. So, I thank them in every way,” said Justice.
Nurses Day kicks off "Nurses Week" in the United States, which is a week dedicated to appreciating the work of nurses.
President Donald Trump invited a group of nurses to the Oval Office as a gesture of gratitude to them as he signed the national proclamation declaring Wednesday, Nurses Day. One of the nurses invited was Scott Depot, West Virginia resident Marty Blankenship, who came out of retirement to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love the profession of nursing, I’ve dedicated my life to that and to have it recognized, I don’t know if there are even words to explain the thrill that this is," said Blankenship.
State and national officials aren't the only ones recognizing nurses for their hard work. Right in the middle of Parkersburg, signs can be seen all over WVU Medicine Camden Clark's campus calling medical professionals heroes. Inside, staff members show each other that they're appreciated.
“Nurses Day and Nurses Week is a great time for all of us to acknowledge each other, uplift each other. A simple thank you is great for all of us to hear,” said Melissa Morris, a nurse in the COVID Unit at Camden Clark.
This year's Nurses Week celebrations have looked a bit different than in years past for Camden Clark nurses thanks to COVID-19.
"We didn't get to do as many things for Nurses Week, but we are celebrating," said Morris.
Even with dialed-back celebrations, nurses said they still feel appreciated.
“Oh, for sure. And even kind of more so with all the people saying 'thank you' and 'appreciate it' online or even in person or on the phone,” said Jesse Horner, an ICU nurse at Camden Clark.
And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parkersburg community has been showing nurses just how appreciated they are.
“During all of this, we have received lots of donations from masks to food to face shields. It’s just been an outreach of support from everyone around the community," said Morris. "It makes us feel really great that we know that we have the support from the community. We have the support from each other, but it's been a great experience during a tough time."