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SWFL group honors hospital workers at Gulf Coast Medical Center

We are Gulfshore Strong, and one man wanted to thank those responding to the virus directly. He put up a large projection at Gulf Coast Medical Center to honor health care workers and show them they are appreciated.

The message: “Heroes work here.” Photos of Lee Health workers are projected onto the wall. And it also shows other first responders’ insignias — police, EMS and deputies too.

When nurse Heather Avalos parks her car at work, in the moments before she steps into a medical center, filled with patients who need her help, she makes sure to do one thing.

“I always pray. I always pray when I get to work,” Avalos said. “I just leave everything in God’s hands,and he leads me to help my patients.”

And Max Weinberg, a retired Cape Coral police officer, wants her and others like her to see a message when they step foot outside the medical center.

“They don’t get the accolades and the thank yous that they deserve,” Weinberg said. “So we just wanted to say thank you in our own little special way.”

At GCMC, three floors are dedicated to treating coronavirus patients.

“Get ourselves ready or the patients and our co-workers, support one another,” nurse Lynne Nabelberg said.

“It just feels like the night is never gonna end,” Avalos said. “But we all get through it together, teamwork.”

On one of those very long nights, Weinberg is hoping this message will give them the encouragement they need.

“I’m hoping they get a little moment of inspiration, something to get them through the night, something to let them know we’re here for them,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg says his company is volunteering their time after losing someone they knew.

“We just recently lost a DJ here locally to the virus,” Weinberg said. “And that really, really hit home to all of us. And it made it really close, and it made it a lot more personal.”

With the pain of loss, they’re shining a light of gratitude.

“We’re here for a lot of people, including him,” Weinberg said.

And that’s exactly what they hope to do. They’re hoping to project this message on more nights throughout this difficult time. And they’re looking to do so at more health care facilities in Southwest Florida.

“It’s any frontline person out there working,” Avalos said. “But it makes us feel great inside.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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