By Karli Barnett


HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – A heartwarming surprise brought a Hollywood nurse to tears, as she saw just how much her loved ones appreciate the work she does.

Shira Freitag works at Hollywood Memorial Hospital. She was recently home for about two weeks to celebrate Passover. Now she’s returning to work 12-hour shifts on the coronavirus-positive floor.

It was a send-off like no other, planned by her husband and friends.

A caravan of about 20 cars lined the block, driving past her home as she was about to head out Monday morning.

They held up signs, honked and cheered.

Through the tears, Freitag waved at her well-wishers.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “I mean, this community that I live in – there’s no words.”

Her husband, Mark, said he was so glad to see everyone come together for something positive.

“We’ve got two little ones who are homeschooled, so a lot of that burden is going to fall on me,” he said. “But I applaud her for being able to go out there and do what she’s got to do.”

Freitag’s mother, Linda Melcer, was also a nurse, and she said no one is more proud than she is.

“All we can do is pray,” Melcer said. “We live in a position of fear or love. There is no in-between. You take in the fear, but you bring in the love, and then maybe you will make it through the day.”

Freitag’s friend, Danielle Lustman, was one of the masterminds behind the surprise. She said she wants to show people what a hero looks like in her friend.

“We have people like Shira out there on the frontlines, helping to get rid of this virus and helping the people that need it,” said Lustman.

Freitag said the community’s support means more than ever, and urges everyone to do their part by staying safe and social distancing.

“I would give anything to stay at home with them,” Freitag said, embracing her family.  “So just enjoy being home with your family, even the moments that are hard with the children! Just take advantage and embrace those moments. That’s what counts right now. We are learning a good lesson.”

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Karli Barnett

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