Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger heroically landed a U.S. Airways flight in the Hudson River in 2009. Now that "Hero of the Hudson" is part of Sanford's Year of the Nurse.
"Each time I hear it, I'm taken to that moment," Sullenberger said after a recording of the crash played Thursday night. "I begin to feel some of the same things I felt that day."
On a cold day in January, 2009 flight 1529 hit a flock of geese. Plane engines failed, leaving an icy river as the only clear landing option.
"He trained his entire career for what he hoped would never happen. And it did that day when he had to land that plane in the Hudson River," Sanford Chief Nurse Executive Diana Berkland said.
That is a tie that binds the pilot to a packed house of Sanford health care providers assembled at the Washington Pavilion Thursday night. Berkland says nurses face life and death situations every day, making them humble heroes like Sullenberger.
"We're really the backbone for health care," she said. "Nurses provide amazing care, courage and compassion every single day in the hospital."
And so the Hero of the Hudson's message Thursday was a message the group could relate to.
"Never stop investing in yourselves," Sullenberger said.
Part of the festivities also recognized outstanding talent of some 350 nominees on Sanford's nursing staff.