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Hero Walk celebration for the Department of Defense team departing OLOL after two-month COVID fight

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2021 at 1:34 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Tuesday, Oct. 26, marked a big send-off for the Department of Defense Response Team at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. The team of clinicians first came to help during the surge of the COVID-19 two months ago.

“To see that they appreciate what we brought to the team and to send us off with a nice crowd and smilies, and I even got a few hugs,” said Melissa Beasley , Task Force Baton Rouge Officer in charge of the Medical Response Team.

Beasley served as one of the 30 people from the Department of Defense to help fight against COVID-19.

“When we came in, our team was in hot and heavy,” said Beasley. “The cases were extremely high.”

They came to help when the peak COVID patient count was around 250 at the Lake. As of Tuesday, that number is 16.

“We like to see them get back to their normal lives and get back to their next call of duty, and it’s a sense of normalcy for us too,” said Jason Rogers, Vice President of Nursing at Our Lady of the Lake.

After 60 days, these heroes, including Beasley, will be reunited with their loved ones at home.

“My husband does not know that I’m coming home, so I’m surprising him with dinner this time,” said Beasley.

“I would say thank you,” said Rogers. “I appreciate the commitment to the community. Commitment to what they do.”

The team said they are even more ready for their next challenge.

“Because of the volume, the complexity of patients that we are now ready to go out in the field wherever we need to go to use our military training even more,” said Beasley.

Rogers said this was the first time they had to bring an outside force in to help. The hospital is going to continue having the mask mandate.

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