Lander Locals Appreciate Healthcare Workers | LOR Foundation

Lander Locals Appreciate Healthcare Workers

Inspired by what he saw unfolding outside his window, one Lander resident was moved to create a citywide demonstration of gratitude for healthcare workers—and you can contribute too!

Fremont County

Photo by Kirk Rasmussen

Traffic was unusually high last spring on Buena Vista Drive. It wasn’t just cars, which formed lines outside Lander’s local medical clinic and hospital. The number of ambulances and helicopters was also unprecedented, says Chase McFadden, who lives on Buena Vista and watched what happened outside his door as the COVID-19 pandemic reached Wyoming.

What McFadden saw on the road leading to the hospital was a small window into what was going on inside. Lander was at the epicenter of Wyoming’s initial COVID-19 outbreak, according to Brian Gee, an acute care physician who served as the Fremont County public health officer this past spring. Case numbers here were higher than anywhere else in the state.

“We were the focal point for the rest of Wyoming to see how the virus was being managed in the hospital,” Gee says. “It was brutal the first couple of months. We’d never seen anything like this. Especially the folks at the hospital, physically and mentally, it was difficult on a couple different levels.”

While COVID-19 cases leveled off as the months wore on, the toll on local healthcare workers remained. McFadden, who observed their sacrifices each day from his front window, didn’t want their work to be taken for granted. So in December, he reached out to LOR community officer Michelle Escudero, whom he knew through previous work in the public schools, with an idea: Why not hang banners with messages of gratitude for the healthcare community throughout Lander—including one at the entrance of the SageWest hospital on Buena Vista Drive?

“This is a way to let healthcare workers know that we do see them; we do recognize the commitment and sacrifice they’ve made,” McFadden says. “Without them we are in a really different, tough spot.”

Chase McFadden Lander Resident

“Chase’s idea was a wonderful way to visually support our healthcare workers—our neighbors and our friends,” Escudero says. “They have been in this pandemic for the long haul—through the uncertainty, through the spikes. Although these signs are a small gesture compared to the sacrifices these workers have made over the past year.”

In March, supported by funding from LOR, the Lander Valley High School Swim and Dive team, including McFadden’s son, hung seven banners in highly visible locations around Lander. Now when cars or ambulances pull into the hospital on Buena Vista Drive, they are greeted with a simple and timeless message: “We rise by lifting others. Thank you, healthcare heroes.”

“This is a way to let healthcare workers know that we do see them; we do recognize the commitment and sacrifice they’ve made,” McFadden says. “Without them we are in a really different, tough spot.”

McFadden isn’t the only one who appreciates what the Lander healthcare workers have done for the community, though. Here, Lander community members, including some of the athletes who helped put up the banners, share their appreciation for healthcare workers—and you can too. Simply email us using the button below, and we’ll add your message of support to this story, share it on social media, and build upon the movement McFadden started.


“Healthcare workers have been going through so much right now, and they’ve been really bogged down. We need to show our appreciation, and these banners should really help out.”

Ross Anderson Varsity Swimmer Lander Valley High School Swim and Dive Team

“The community gives so much to us. It felt good for us to be able to give back to them. The team knows another title wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for all of our healthcare workers in Fremont County.”

Shawna Morgan Head Coach Lander Valley High School Swim and Dive Team

“At the community standpoint COVID-19 was a pretty full-on, all hands on deck. At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone was like: ‘Oh, what can we do for healthcare workers?’ But this health banner initiative will be a really nice re-boost. This is definitely needed.”

Dr. Brian Gee Urgent Care Physician Lander Medical Clinic
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