Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Aspirus staff awed by flyover


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Ironwood - It took just an instant but the impact was clear on the faces of staff and the public who came to watch the U.S. Air Force flyover of Aspirus Ironwood hospital and clinic late Wednesday morning.

Two Block 50 generation F-16 Falcon jets with the 148th Fighter Wing based in Duluth, Minnesota, flew over the health campus at 11:33 a.m. The flyover was part of the Operation American Resolve program in appreciation of the COVID-19 response of health workers.

"Our whole Aspirus team is so appreciative to receive this recognition and to acknowledge the hard work that they've done in getting ready to take care of patients who have COVID-19, and all of the dedication and commitment that they have to serve our community," said Paula Chermside, chief administrative officer for Aspirus Ironwood Hospital & Clinics. "I really appreciate having recognition like this for the team."

This is the first time that she participated in a national recognition such as this in her more than 40 years in health care, she said. She was among several staff who took a few minutes to come outside and watch the flyover with several community members nearby.

"I just thought this was so awesome to get this recognition because we work hard as a team and it feels good to be appreciated," said Jade Svoke, a registered nurse at Aspirus Ironwood. "It also feels really good to do this with our community parked down the road. It's a really nice turnout for this and we are just very appreciative."

Barry and Kim Engen drove from their home in Bessemer to watch the flyover.

"We just came to watch the jets go by," Barry Engen said. "I would imagine that they're doing it just for the morale of the people that are working. It's a good thing that they do that, you know, it unites people."

Chris Pogliano, M.D., chief medical officer at Aspirus Ironwood Hospital, had similar sentiments. He said it was knowing that Ironwood was one part of a nationwide thanks to health workers is what makes him "very proud of what America is doing."

"It's nice to be recognized for it," Pogliano said. "But also just to be out here with our group that has been great through this whole thing and experiencing this together is very nice."