The NASCAR playoffs will open at Darlington, SC this weekend, and our ministry is teaming up with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to pay tribute to our frontline health care workers at the event.
When Justin Haley pulls up to the start line in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet on Sunday, it won’t be his name above the driver’s side door. Instead, the car will feature an homage to the Bon Secours St. Francis Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“None of us started nursing to be heroes,” Matthew Morgan (pictured above), one of our St. Francis ICU nurses, shares. “We didn’t dream of glory or recognition. We just wanted to help people. But now to be recognized for what we have gone through, what we have sacrificed and what we have lost, it reminds us of the young idealistic nurses we once were, and the reasons we chose to be here.”
Our ICU team members are no stranger to providing care to some of our sickest hospital patients. Even so, nothing could have prepared them for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Each one of us has worked beyond what we could have imagined, watching units fill up and patients get sicker, knowing that if we don’t step forward, people will die,” Matthew says. “Every day, we’re putting on masks that squeeze our faces until they leave bruises and gowns made of plastic that leave us covered in sweat. With each room I enter, I always wonder if this will be the time my mask leaks, and I get sick or bring it home to my family.”
Matthew shares it has been his work family that really holds each other up during the lowest moments of the pandemic. This support is important so they can continue moving forward and caring for patients.
“Our ICU couldn’t function without committed teamwork. The nurses in our ICU watch over each other’s patients, grab medicines and supplies for each other and are always there to help each other with an extra pair of hands. From the moment a new nurse steps on our unit, they are a part of our team.”
This team has also received plenty of support from outside the hospital walls that boosted morale and helped remind everyone that their hard work and sacrifice really does matter.
“I want to say thank you to every family member who brought us food or snacks while their loved one was under our care,” Matthew shares. “I also want to say thank you to everyone who sent cards and updates on former patients. I want to specifically thank NewSpring Church for providing uniforms and shoes for the whole unit. I want to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers. It means a lot.”
This weekend’s race is just the latest show of appreciation for these frontline heroes. And while it’s clear they don’t do what they do for the glory, it’s clear that when they do get special recognition for a job well done, it means the world.
“The best possible reward for us as health care providers, especially during a time like this, is seeing our sickest patients get better and be able to go home to their families. However, having our team honored on a race car is pretty awesome, too.”
The Cook Out Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway is Sunday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.
Also, a reminder that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way you can avoid severe illness and protect those around you. Learn what some of our providers have to share regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.