Church organizes parking lot celebration for Fort Worth hospital workers

First responders and church groups were among those who gathered outside some North Texas hospitals to pay tribute to frontline healthcare workers.

Dozens of people lined up near their vehicles for a celebration at an unusual location. It’s a celebration of the workers at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance in Fort Worth.

Gateway Church gathered for a special Friday evening service in the parking lot of the hospital for the ones battling COVID-19 along the front lines.

Clint Opfar brought his family to read their favorite scriptures.

“We want to pray over them. We want to bless them,” he said. “His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.”

They are words they believe protected Clint while serving in Afghanistan.

“We know how prayer works. We know what God has done in our life,” said Danielle Oprar. “And so we are here, and we just want to give a blessing, and we want them to know they’re not alone”

“I heard about this at the beginning of the week. I know a lot of us have not been able to worship together,” said Kim Taylor, a registered nurse. “We haven’t been able to really be close enough to have a worship service.”

Hospital staff feels the love, even from a social distance.

“It’s pretty amazing, to be honest, and I go to Gateway. And they don’t know that I work here,” said Megan Simmons, a patient care tech.

“What’s keeping us going is really the spiritual aspect,” said hospital president Clint Abernathy. “And we want our first responders, EMT, physicians, nurses, practitioners to know we love them and we care for them.”

The church says it brought out about 120 cars full of people. The celebration went on for nearly two hours.