May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, a time to express appreciation to area nurses for sharing their gifts and talents.

To our nurses: your dedication as a nurse in a variety of settings across our community is endless. I am truly thankful to you for all of your many sacrifices and your efforts to continually improve the health and well-being of our community.

Thank you for all the cross-training you've done, as well as the new procedures and technologies you had to learn. Thank you for assisting with codes and drills, for coming in early and staying late during bad weather or emergencies, as well as for the weekends and holidays you were away from your family. Please, accept my gratitude for all of the births you celebrated and all of the deaths you mourned; all of the times you were a strong leader, as well as the times you chose to follow; all of the times you advocated, as well as all said prayers on behalf of others.

I thank you for the times you have faced difficult challenges at work, as you rose above them and continued to help others. I thank you for how you worked through your pregnancies, for all the times you patiently trained a new employee and for taking time to recruit a bright young person into your profession.

Be proud of yourself and accept this overdue expression of appreciation you so greatly deserve. Each day you show your determination to keep on caring when you teach that lesson, change that dressing, give that good or bad news, volunteer to fill in for a shift or write that evaluation. Your caring will continue every time you make that home visit, give that medication, go back to school, explain that procedure or calm that family.

Tomorrow you will wake up and choose once again to let the giving and caring flow through your hands. I am so humbled and proud to be able to say that I am a member of this amazing profession and this sacred work. Many thanks to you and thanks be to God for you.