BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – On Tuesday, the halls of Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL) filled with applause as the Department of Defense (DOD) support team departed Baton Rouge.
The DOD team of 23 MDs, RNs, respiratory therapists, and administration jumped into action in August to help local medical staff battle COVID-19 when the positivity rate spiked. But now with the cases slowing down, their support is no longer needed.
“At our peak, we had 250 COVID patients total, now we are down to sixteen patients today,” OLOL VP of Nursing Jason Rogers said.
But before DOD packs their bags, OLOL gave the departing team the send-off they deserve, a ‘Hero Walk.’
“They welcomed us into their team, made us feel a part of the organization, and to see that they appreciated what we brought to the team and to send us off with a nice crowd and smiles and I even got a few hugs you can’t beat that,” said Cmdr. Melissa Beasley of the 81st Medical Support Squadron.
Cmdr. Beasley said when she walked through the hospital doors for the first time 60 days ago, she knew this was going to be a different experience, but she knew they were prepared for the task at hand.
“We trained to go into environments that may not be familiar to us, so let’s employ the training in which we have been given,” Cmdr. Beasley said.
The COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped significantly in Louisiana, so it’s time to say goodbye.
“Now that COVID [is] kind of winding down, we are able to let them go back home,” Rogers said. “So I say ‘thank you.’ I appreciate the commitment to the community, commitment to what they do, the sacrifice, leaving their families for two months — to me that was huge.”
“To send us off with a nice crowd and smiles and I even gt a few hugs you can’t beat that,” Cmdr. Beasley said.
After months of being in Baton Rouge, they can go home to their loved ones.
“My husband does not know that I am coming home, so I plan to surprise him with dinner this time,” Cmdr. Beasley said.
“This means we are getting back to normal, so that’s what feels good to me,” Rogers said.