NEWARK, N.J. - In the weeks since the coronavirus outbreak spread across the globe, airline travel has dwindled dramatically. That hasn't left the staff at airport security checkpoints with nearly as many bags and passengers to screen as usual. So some TSA officers at Newark-Liberty Airport decided to hand-craft get-well cards for COVID-19 patients.
They got the idea from TSA officer Cynthia Hoyles's cousin, a nurse at a community medical center in Toms River, New Jersey. She said that patients there would really appreciate the cards.
"The people in isolation... are getting depressed because they have no visitors, so we hope the cards will help give them hope and brighten their day," Hoyles said.
Using construction paper, colorful markers and glue, the officers created 70 cards for patients as well as thank you notes for nurses, doctors and other health pros to brighten their day. They made the cards "from their heart," Hoyles said, adding that "they can relate to what has been going on at the hospitals."
Thomas Carter, the agency's federal security director for New Jersey, said that the coronavirus has infected more than two dozen TSA staff members in the state and that Frank Boccabella, a dog handler, died of COVID-related causes.
"Yet, our team carries on, not only supporting each other in this challenging environment, but also supporting the community as a whole," Carter said. "I'm extremely proud of them."
TSA officer Rachid Dabaha makes a greeting card for a coronavirus patient in New Jersey. (Courtesy of TSA)