On Wednesday, dozens of Tulsa area healthcare workers were recognized for their determination in the fight against COVID-19 in a unique way.
Not only did the honorees get medals for "going the extra mile," an employee with Ascension St. John also ran from Bartlesville to Tulsa to honor his colleagues' hard work.
Organizers said the run and medal presentation are symbolic of the "marathon" healthcare workers have endured during the pandemic and the support along the way.
Wyatt Hockmeyer is an avid runner, but Wednesday’s 46-mile run is not a race.
"It's not easy to be on your feet for 10 hours and out there in the elements on the hard roads," said Hockmeyer.
Hockmeyer, who works for Ascension St. John as director of performance improvement, kicked off his run at 7 a.m. from Ascension St. John Jane Phillips in Bartlesville, where 15 of his colleagues got medals for their work in the fight against COVID-19.
Hockmeyer spent the next 10 hours running on Highway 75 with the help of a law enforcement escort to keep him and the cart full of medals he pushed safe.
“I've got people at the hospital on their feet for this amount of time and they're doing it every single day and they're not complaining about it," said Hockmeyer.
He took some breaks, ate some pizza, met up with some coworkers near 21st and Peoria, then ended at Ascension St. John Medical Center.
A total of 85 healthcare workers, including Melissa Kelly and Jason Hall, were presented with medals from Medals4Mettle, a national nonprofit with a chapter in Tulsa, that honors courageous frontline workers.
"I think it's wonderful that they're able to honor so many people that have gone above and beyond because there's so many things happening,” said Kelly.
The medal recipients said they're grateful for those cheering them on and hope to see the finish line soon.
"We should all take a deep breath and have a lot of hope that as we move into the summer that we do see the COVID rates go down,” said Hall.
If you'd like to donate your medals or request a medal for someone who has made a difference, visit the website here.