AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Nurses Honor Guard of the Texas Panhandle has honored nurses on the High Plains since 2021.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses felt it was time to honor their own.
“The way so many nurses had passed afterwards from either being exposed or elderly at the end of their life, nobody really got to honor any nurses,” said Missy Britt President of the Texas Panhandle Nurses Honor Guard. “Although we’ve taken care of all of those individuals, in groups throughout the United States and the world. It has now been felt that we need to honor ourselves and the passing of our fellow nurses.”
The mission of the nursing honor guard is it honor the life and passing of a fellow nurse. During the ceremony, nurses recite the nightingale poem, celebrate the nurse’s accomplishments and do a final roll call for the nurse.
Sid Bond has been a nurse for almost forty years and shared that a lot of the ceremonies she has participated in have been of former colleagues and friends.
“Nurses are very dedicated to what we do and caring for others, we will take care of others before we take care of ourselves,” said Bond. “We consider each other sisters, because of what we do. So, when we lose a nurse, it’s like losing a part of ourselves.”
During the ceremony, a white rose and bible are given to the family of the fallen nurse. During the final roll call the nurse’s name is called out three times and a triangle is rung three times. A candle is extinguished.
As the honor guard expands, they are planning to begin having living tributes.
“If a nurse who is retired or active and is at the end of their life, we can offer them a living tribute, while they are alive, and be able to honor them before their passing,” said Britt.
The ceremonies not only have an impact on the family of fallen nurses but on the nurses conducting the ceremonies.
“Knowing that one of our own is no longer here to take care of someone,” said Britt. “It does make us feel very emotional because that person is gone. Whether you’re working in labor and delivery at the very beginning of life or you’re working in the ICU or an ER, we’ve seen it all.”
Bond shared that being part of the ceremony is an honor.
“The end of life is about living and about doing what you can do while you can do it, and about your family being with you,” said Bond. “Honoring what you’ve done in the past. I like to know people and what they’ve done in their lives, the impact they’ve made, and just be a part of them. I feel very honored.”
The nurse’s honor guard is open to any professional nurse (LVN, RN, APN). Nurses must be in good standing.
The Texas Panhandle chapter serves the Texas Panhandle, Northeastern New Mexico, Western Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Panhandle.
If you are interested in having a service performed for your loved one, or joining the honor guard you can contact the honor guard through their Facebook or email, TPNHG@outlook.com.