Hometown heroes: Salute to healthcare workers in Novato

Doctors, nurses and staff members at a North Bay Hospital got a special thank you Wednesday morning for their work in the fight against COVID-19.

First responders from Novato's police and fire departments, gathered outside the front entrance of Sutter Novato Community Hospital at 6:30 a.m. to cheer and applaud front-line health care workers.

"This is a huge booster," said emergency room physician Dr. Rich Bodony of the display. "The outpouring from the community, first responders - everybody's been great."

Bodony said since the coronavirus pandemic began, things have been "stressful, but good. This is what we live for," he said. "Taking care of people. It's been slower than we've expected, but we're trying to do the right thing all the time."

Members of Novato's police and fire department also walked around the hospital grounds, clapping and cheering, as part of what they called their "Hero's Walk." 

"I've actually been cared for at this hospital, too," said Novato Police Lt. Sasha Damico. "It's a great way for me to thank the hospital staff, not only on behalf of my department but also personally for me and my family."

During the past several weeks, first responders across the Bay Area have held similar health care worker appreciation events like the one in Novato.

Earlier this month, hundreds of police and firefighters gathered outside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital to thank doctors, nurses and staff members there.

Similar appreciation events have been held at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Stanford Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and O'Connor Hospital in the South Bay.

"We're just so proud that the first responders reached out to us and said we'd like to do this for you guys," said Shannon Thomas, Chief Nurse and Administrative Officer at Sutter Novato Community Hospital.  "This week is national hospital week. It's nice, a great time to celebrate," she said.

Allie Rasmus is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Allie at allie.rasmus@foxtv.com(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab) and follow her on Twitter@arasmusKTVU