‘Welcome home’: Orlando nurse practitioner gets hero’s welcome after spending almost 40 days at NYC hospital

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando nurse practitioner was surprised with a hero’s welcome Saturday morning at Orlando International Airport after spending more than a month caring for COVID-19 patients at a New York City hospital.

Kara Jones, a U.S. Army veteran and former flight nurse, said she felt compelled to help in the fight against the coronavirus, so she traveled to North Central Bronx Hospital, which is at the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic.

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There she spent almost 40 days on the front line, caring for people who had contracted the virus.

Orlando International Airport Fire Rescue greeted Jones’ plane with a water salute upon landing.

Nurses and firefighters cheered as Jones approached the baggage claim area.

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Among those awaiting her homecoming was her husband, Orange County Fire Rescue Engineer Tim Jones.

He said all he could do was listen as his wife described the many sleepless nights and brutal days she had spent caring for patients.

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“She was far away from home doing what she loves but also paying the price mentally and physically,” Tim Jones said.

See moving photos of their reunion below:

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV in 2014.