JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)– There’s nothing like coming home after a long trip. But for nurse practitioner Erin Beard, this was no ordinary homecoming.
“It feels great,” Beard says. “It’s a little surreal right now. I had no idea everyone was gonna be here. A little emotional, but it’s great!”
Erin volunteered to spend 45 days treating patients with COVID-19 in New York City. After such a long time away, her family and neighbors made sure she got an extraordinary welcome complete with signs and an escort from a fire truck.
“The fact that she was doing it voluntarily and she felt the need to go,” says neighbor Mary Sharp, “she has the skills and the expertise to go there and just stay. She’s just an amazing woman. So all we could do for her was something like this, but I would do more if we could.”
Her husband Matthew held down the fort with their five children, ages 3 to 11. They’re all thrilled to have her back home.
“It was a good experience for me to be able to spend some time with the children and get to experience fatherhood on a very deep level,” he says. “We had a good time for 45 days but we’re ready for mom to be back and the whole family to be back.”
After weeks of sleeping in hotels and working 12-15 hours shifts, Erin says she’s proud to have made a difference and helped other health care workers fighting the same fight.
“Everyone was just so overwhelmed. They hadn’t had a break in over six weeks, eight weeks that they had just been trucking through. And to see that we were there to give them some kind of relief and some kind of help, it was an amazing experience.”
She’s ready for some rest and relaxation with her family, trading in her spot on the front lines for a front row seat by the TV for a family movie night.