UNCW holds parking lot pep rally for NHRMC healthcare workers

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — This pandemic has been a marathon for hospital employees around the country and Cape Fear. That’s why Monday, UNCW Health and Human Service staff and professors lined up outside New Hanover Regional to show support for former students and current frontline workers.

The Novant parking lot filled with bubbles, pom poms, and support as UNCW nursing and health staff members surprised medical staff, like Grace Spangler with a pep rally.

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“This is awesome,” Spangler yelled over the cheers. “This is something I never would’ve expected coming into work on a Monday night.”

As UNCW staff lined up along the hospital’s walkways, NHRMC President Shelbourn Stevens said the support was both needed and well-deserved.

“They have been showing up day in and day out,” Stevens said, “and been here picking up extra shifts, working longer shifts, and they’ve really done a great job.”

The group encouraged medical workers beginning their shifts.

“It feels good to be appreciated and see everybody come out here to support us all,” said one respiratory therapist headed inside.

The group also cheered on others leaving for the day, like Ryan Farmintino.

“It feels like people have our back,” Farmintino grinned. “Like they know what we’re doing is a good thing.”

Though they didn’t expect it, many like Katelyn Flores, an administrator, said it reminded them their hard work is valued.

According to Flores, “I think a lot of us you know, in the beginning of the pandemic, when it first started, there was a lot of recognition. And I feel like it did taper off a little bit. It’s just really nice to have that reenergized to get us through again.”

And though not everyone is able to holding a parking lot pep rally for frontline workers, Associate Professor Stephanie Turnise said there’s more than one way to support local medical workers.

“Take this seriously,” she said. “Get your vaccination if you haven’t. It takes everyone to be on that bandwagon for us to get over this.”

UNCW staff presented the hospital with a banner filled with thank yous and kind notes from students before the pep rally.