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Blackfeet Service Unit Chief Executive Officer Garland Stiffarm brought his doctors and nurses out to watch the National Guard fly over the facility in a C-130, honoring all the frontline folks in Browning.

The skies were cloudy with low, dark clouds threatening stormy weather on Wednesday, May 6, at Blackfeet Community Hospital, but the parking lot was filling up as 11:15 a.m. approached.

Blackfeet Incident Commander Robert DesRosier said he’d received an email on Monday notifying him that a Montana National Guard C-130 transport plane would do a flyover of the local health facility to honor all the frontline workers there. The flight was one of two made across the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, flying over hospitals in Montana’s towns and cities. Browning’s flyover came on the second day, with the anticipated aircraft approaching from the east.

While the hospital brought out as many frontline personnel as possible, all the entities in the Incident Command Team took up positions in the parking lot. Roy Crawford and his Blackfeet Food Distribution Program staff were there, along with Blackfeet Fire Management and other programs.

Everyone’s gaze was focused on the eastern horizon when the C-130 appeared, passing over Blackfoot and eastern Browning before making its low level pass over the hospital. Some folks got an even closer look from the helicopter landing pad on the hospital roof while those with flashing lights turned them on and a cheer erupted from the crowd.

“It was such an uplifting moment,” DesRosier said. “Everybody was happy. I really appreciate the gesture they made, and I commend them for the job they’re doing.”

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