Health care workers feel appreciated after flyover

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan health care workers were honored with their own flyover Tuesday afternoon.

The 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard flew over several Michigan cities, including Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.

Michigan Air National Guard A-10 Thunderbolts fly over metro Grand Rapids on May 12, 2020. (Courtesy Elizabeth Veldt)

The A-10 Thunderbolts, nicknamed the Warthog, rumble through the air over the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, continuing south to Wyoming and Metro Health Hospital to honor those on the front lines of the current battle.

A-10 Thunderbolts from the Michigan Air National Guard fly over Battle Creek on May 12, 2020. (Ruby Cagney-Kerzich/ReportIt)

“I thought it was really awesome that the 127th honored us in the way they did,” said Metro Nurse Tristen Versluis after the flyover. “It just shows appreciation for the health care workers… that we put ourselves out there every day to help out the general population.”

It was also special for the veterans in the crowd.

Steve Polega, now Metro’s chief nursing officer, was a U.S. Navy sailor aboard the USS Kennedy 30 years ago.

“Today’s really special. To see the military also appreciating what our health care heroes are doing is just pretty cool,” Polega said. “Our nurses have been there. They’re there on nights, weekends, holidays. They leave their families to take care of our community.”

The A-10s were overhead and gone in a matter of seconds.

A-10 Thunderbolts from the Michigan Air National Guard fly over Battle Creek on May 12, 2020. (Ruby Cagney-Kerzich/ReportIt)

But the flyover also brought out the public to honor the health care professionals. And that is an impression that will last.

“Our health care workers, they see this. Our nurses, our doctors, our techs, they’re out there,” Polega said. “They see the community supporting them. So, yea, absolutely. This is great.”

The Air National Guard wants to see your flyover photos.

Michigan Air National Guard A-10 Thunderbolts fly over metro Grand Rapids on May 12, 2020.

You can submit them to the 127th Wing’s Facebook page. Folks could win squadron patches and a signed photograph.