Chief Nurse On Fire Department's Cheers: 'It Was Just That Energy That You Needed When You Felt So Defeated And So Tired'

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, firefighters in White Plains have been cheering to support their local health care heroes, but Thursday, it was their turn to feel the love.

It was a typical packed lunch, including a sandwich and a bag of chips, but it was made with a special sauce called “thanks.”

“It feels really, really good. I mean, it feels good for our nurses, it feels good for our staff to be able to say thank you,” said Kerri El-Sabbout, of White Plains Hospital.

Like every hospital, the staff at White Plains has been working overtime for the past five months. The community supported them by donating more than 43,000 meals at the peak of COVID, and the gift that affected them most was given every week by the White Plains Fire Department.

“Every Thursday night, their lights and sirens, their presence, they were there for us. You had a really bad day, you walked outside of the hospital and there was this energy, this support, and you just knew you could get through it,” White Plains Hospital Chief Nurse Leigh Anne McMahon said.


“It’s a lot easier giving the cheers than receiving it. We’re here out to do our job. We don’t think twice about it. We just love to cheer on everyone else,” said Lt. Christopher Hosei, with the fire department.

“It was just that energy that you needed when you felt so defeated and so tired,” McMahon told CBS2’s Steve Overymer. “We’re gonna get through this and this isn’t gonna win. We’re gonna win.”

On Aug. 6, 2020, the staff from White Plains Hospital thanked the White Plains Fire Department for their support through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: CBS2)

An army of nurses in scrubs gets attention.

This time, it was their turn to give recognition to the same fire department that routinely stood outside their doors.

“I don’t think they realize how much it meant, their presence, every single day, every week, the presence that they were just every single week, when you really really needed it, they were there for us,” McMahon said.

To combat the mental effects of the virus, the nurses remind us we can use an overlooked weapon, something that doesn’t cost anything, and the benefits are enormous, especially when it spreads — gratitude.


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