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Health

Montana National Guard Salutes First Responders With Flyover

A motocade drives by Billings' two hospitals on May 6, 2020.
Kayla Desroches
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
The Montana Air National Guard flew over hospitals across the state May 6 to salute Montana’s first responders and medical workers combating the novel coronavirus.";

The Montana Air National Guard flew over hospitals across the state this week to salute Montana’s first responders and medical workers combating the novel coronavirus. Yellowstone Public Radio News was there to watch a motorcade in Billings that coincided with the flyovers.

On Wednesday, a parade of cop cars, ambulances, and other first responder vehicles circled around the medical campuses in Billings.

Medical assistant Abby Bymaster sat on a bench with her sister outside a St. Vincent Healthcare building.

She said she enjoyed watching the reactions from the crowd.

“It’s nice to know that we have the support," she said.

The motorcade cycled through shortly before the Montana Air National Guard was scheduled to buzz over Billings in its route through eastern Montana.

A half block down, people in scrubs and masks gathered on the corner and cheered when the C-130 flew overhead.

In the crowd was St. Vincent Healthcare CEO and President Steve Loveless.

“We know that there’s going to be long-term consequences to the pandemic when you think about the economic implications. And yet we’re part of an industry that’s been called upon to be ready, and I would tell you we are,” he said.

The Montana Air National Guard took two routes in its flyover, one through eastern Montana and one through western Montana.

This is one way Montanans have rallied behind local medical communities. Another is by howling at 8pm every night in support of healthcare workers.

Cities on the eastern route included Lewistown, Harlem, Wolf Point, Glendive, Hardin, Miles City, Billings, Livingston and Bozeman. Cities on the western route included Havre, Shelby, Browning, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Kalispell, Polson, Ronan, Missoula, Butte and Helena.