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Lighting Up Philly to Honor Health Care Heroes

On the evening of April 28, 2020, Linda S. Kocent, RN, MSN, Nu’84, GNu’88, stood in her scrubs at 34th and Spruce Streets, waiting for the drone show to start.

She’d just spent a long day overseeing the learning center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Connelly Resource Center for Families, teaching caregivers to administer injections to their kids and how to use feeding tubes. She wanted to go home, but her colleagues pouring out of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and CHOP were excited, looking up at the sky. The anticipation was enough to make her stay.

“The first lights came up in the dark,” Kocent says, “and wow—it was like a fireworks show, but more elaborate, like synchronized swimming with a hundred-plus drones. It was very inspirational and motivational.”

The light show honored health care professionals like Kocent and first responders to the COVID-19 pandemic with an aerial tribute at Penn’s campus.

Verge Aero—a leader in high performance drone light shows—sent up approximately 140 illuminated drones into the sky above Franklin Field Stadium. They flew in formation for a dynamic light show that featured a variety of images, including, Kocent says, “a beating heart that did a 360 degree turn. It was absolutely incredible.”

As reported in an article by the Pennovation Center, Nils Thorjussen, CEO of Verge Aero, which operates out of the Pennovation Center, said, “This was an opportunity for us to donate our resources and expertise to stand in solidarity with these brave heroes, and convey the thanks of the American people. We are profoundly grateful for their tireless work, dedication, and sacrifice.”

In addition to the Penn campus drone light show, dozens of iconic Philadelphia buildings and landmarks celebrated health care workers by lighting up blue. The display was part of the local #PhillyShinesBlue campaign and global #LightItBlue campaign.

To view complete drone show footage, visit this page.