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Gundersen employees heartened by Wings Over Wisconsin flyover for healthcare appreciation

Gundersen employees heartened by Wings Over Wisconsin flyover for healthcare appreciation

From the The pandemic hits home: Keep up with the latest La Crosse area news on COVID-19 series

It was over in just 10 seconds, but for Gundersen Health System staff members, the memory of the Wings Over Wisconsin flyover will last forever.

At 7:06 p.m. Tuesday, a quartet of F-16s from the Wisconsin National Guard 115th Fighter Wing in Madison zoomed over Gundersen’s La Crosse hospital as about 30 employees applauded from the top of the parking ramp and others watched from the windows with patients.

The Wisconsin National Guard flyover, part of the national Operation American Resolve campaign to show appreciation to health care and front line workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, kicked off at 5:48 p.m. over Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital in Kenosha and continued over 20 other Level 1 and 2 trauma centers or VA hospitals, concluding the tribute with a 7:33 p.m. passover Middleton VA Medical Center in Dane County.

Gundersen, a Level 2 trauma center, and the Tomah VA medical center were the two area health care facilities that qualified for the Wisconsin flyover, and the planes also could be seen near the nearby Mayo Clinic Health System. The Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds have led flyovers in multiple states over the past weeks.

Gundersen Flyover

F-16s from the Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing passed over Gundersen Health System Tuesday evening as part of Wings Over Wisconsin and Operation American Resolve, campaigns to show appreciation for healthcare and front line workers.

Amy Hanson of Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance was able to watch the flyover from her Holmen home, setting an alarm to make sure her husband, La Crosse County deputy Jacob Hanson, and her 2-year-old daughter could join in.

“It went directly over us,” Hanson says. “The best part of it was I got to see it with my family...my daughter loved it.”

Amy Hanson

Amy Hanson

Hanson, who says her job has been more diverse and stressful since the coronavirus hit locally, praises the community for its “tremendous” level of support, and says the flyover was a gesture of thanks she will always remember.

“What it means to us in health care — it’s nice to see people looking out for us and showing they care,” Hanson says. “It really means a lot (Wings Over Wisconsin) came to fly over for us.”

The recognition was well deserved, with Hanson and her colleagues taking every measure to ensure the safety of patients and staff during the pandemic.

“Everybody has done a fantastic job,” Hanson said. “Everybody stepped up. Gundersen has done a great job, and Tri-State has done a fantastic job taking precautions and cleaning to protect everyone.”

“What it means to us in health care — it’s nice to see people looking out for us and showing they care. It really means a lot (Wings Over Wisconsin) came to fly over for us.” Amy Hanson of Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance

Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

"What it means to us in health care — it's nice to see people looking out for us and showing they care. It really means a lot (Wings Over Wisconsin) came to fly over for us."

Amy Hanson of Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance

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