A formation of four F-35s from the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard took to Friday’s blue skies honoring healthcare workers on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fighter jets flew over every hospital, or surge site in the state.

“I just love the f35’s and the fact that they were doing a four way flyover just kind of enthralled me,” said Gay Godfrey, an R.N. at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

After taking off from the Burlington International Airport at noon, the Green Mountain Boys flew over 16 sites throughout the state from Rutland to Brattleboro to the Northeast Kingdom. Similar events are happening around the country as part of Operation America Strong, an Air Force initiative to salute essential employees

“Those on the front-lines have worked long hard hours and given so much throughout this once in a lifetime crisis,” said Gov. Phil Scott.

The final hospital before completing the 90 minute route was the University of Vermont Medical Center where doctors and nurses filed onto the lawn to see the fighter jets fly over.
Even those front-line workers who couldn’t step outside tried to get a glimpse from the hospital’s windows. Gay Godfrey, a nurse at UVMMC says it’s an honor to be recognized as they continue facing uncertain times.

“You just trudge through, you have each other, we’re all in it together,” Godfrey said. “That’s the only way to get through is to all stick together and do the right thing.”