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21 marching bands selected to join the 132nd Rose Parade. © Tournament of Roses

Rose Parade’s New Year Celebration TV Special to Feature Health Care Heroes

Kaiser Permanente celebrates health care heroes to be featured in Rose Parade TV Entertainment Special

Published on December 27, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of our holiday traditions, including the beloved annual Rose Parade watched by millions in person and on TV each year, often under blue skies in beautiful Pasadena.

This year, however, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses will broadcast “The Rose Parade’s New Year Celebration presented by Honda,” a special two-hour TV entertainment special on Jan. 1 featuring pre-recorded performances, celebrity appearances and more to celebrate the history of the Rose Parade. This reimagined program will air locally on six Tournament of Roses broadcast partners: at 7 a.m. on Univision, and at 8 a.m. ABC, Hallmark Channel, KTLA, NBC and RFD TV.

While a Kaiser Permanente float has been a fixture in the parade for 15 years, they will trade in their float for a 90-second video with the theme, “Honoring health care heroes and a healthy, thriving world,” expected to be viewed by millions around the world. This unique and inspirational video will highlight health care heroes while reinforcing the importance of proper safety and hygiene measures as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The staff walking in each day to care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients are doing so much more than stepping up and going the extra mile,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii, Health Plan and Hospitals. “They are recommitting themselves daily to their calling of providing clinical care, support services and human connection to the 4.7 million people who have entrusted us with their lives in Southern California.”

“Our physicians and care staff show up with bravery and commitment every day to ensure that only the highest possible patient care and medical excellence are provided in our communities across Southern California,” he said. “Day after day, and throughout the pandemic, they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to deliver high-quality, equitable and compassionate care. That commitment is particularly meaningful during these unprecedented times, but we can’t do this alone. We are all in this together and need everyone to wear a mask, wash your hands with soap frequently, avoid large and small gatherings and practice physical distancing. Along with the vaccine, putting these actions into practice will not only protect the health of your family and communities, but also help us return to a more normal life.” – Dr. Edward M. Ellison, executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, echoed those sentiments.

Kaiser Permanente’s TV segment features heart-warming and emotional testimonials by eight health care heroes. They include: :

Marcial Reyes, Emergency Department Charge Nurse, Fontana Medical Center
Shortly after the start of the pandemic, Marcial Reyes found himself on the other side of the fence when he contracted the COVID-19 virus. After spending 23 days in the hospital – isolated, comatose and on a ventilator for more than a week, Marcial recovered and returned to his work on the frontlines in the Emergency Room to care for patients experiencing the same illness that placed him in a critical state and near death.

Maria Guzman, Environmental Services Aide, Anaheim Medical Center
Maria Guzman’s passion for patients started when she witnessed hospital staff treat her close loved ones who were fighting cancer with love and compassion. It was because of this she quickly fell in love with health care, and decided she wanted to make a difference in the healing experience. As an Environmental Services Aide during the pandemic, Maria has found great meaning in going above and beyond for her patients. Her love for helping others has motivated her, and she is now working toward becoming a registered nurse.

Nina Vallega, Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse, Los Angeles Medical Center
The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic felt like walking into the unknown, and for Nina Vallega, it is a moment in time she’ll never forget. “We saw all the negative reports in the news, the ever-changing stream of information about the virus, and it made us wonder what are we getting ourselves into?” Vallega said. One of the things that inspires her most is the bravery of her colleagues. “They still show up every single day, and they still take care of these people,” she shared.

Jerry Barba, Clinical Psychologist, Downey Service Area
Frontline workers have been under enormous pressure. Jerry Barba saw that and took action. Barba began by supporting Kaiser Permanente staff over the phone, but soon realized that wasn’t enough, deciding instead to volunteer his time in person at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center. After setting up an office right in the heart of the Emergency Department, he began providing quick interventions and offering coping tips for frontline workers in need of a little extra connection. “Hold on to hope and try to find some bright spots, even if they’re just moments in a day,” he says.

Rene Aventura, Registered Nurse, Step Down Unit, Baldwin Park Medical Center
A platoon sergeant in the U.S. Army, Rene Aventura has experienced the reality of being in combat zones on the other side of the globe, even once coming close to losing his life during an airstrike. Now back home, Aventura is fighting another battle as a frontline nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Since I came back, I feel like I’m in a state of war – it’s a fight we have to win,” Aventura said. He added that he feels honored to be able to provide patient care during this difficult time, sharing that it feels like this is his and his fellow nurses’ calling.

Ebony Talley, Director of Infection Prevention, Woodland Hills Medical Center
Ebony Talley believes we can get through the pandemic together. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is another side of this,” Talley says. “This is hard for all of us, and we really haven’t had a moment’s rest since this started. That takes a toll on anybody.” After more than nine months of combatting the virus, pandemic fatigue is expected, but giving up isn’t an option, she says.

Dr. Danielle R. Flowers, Pediatrician, and Physician in Charge, Mission Hills Clinic
Providing care for children during a pandemic hasn’t been easy because of the emotional toll. “You can barely see your doctor’s eyes behind all of the stuff we were wearing, so it is really hard to connect with the kids and make an already scary experience a comfortable one,” said Dr. Flowers. “We’ve had to say things like, ‘I’m smiling at you with my eyes,’ and we have to do more with our voices and our body language to let them know that this is a safe environment and we’re here to help them.”

Dr. Elizabeth E. Hudson, Head of Infectious Disease, Panorama City Medical Center
Dr. Elizabeth E. Hudson said one of the most important things that have helped her navigate through the unknown is recognizing the importance of embracing an interdependent culture. Another is understanding that sacrifice is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary. “This is all about caring for your fellow human being and showing the Martin Luther King kind of love – a real love for people,” she explains. While it’s impossible to have all the answers, Dr. Hudson says she is focusing on making sure patients can get the care they need so they can recover as quickly as possible. “I have seen whole families die, especially earlier on in the pandemic, and it’s just been heartbreaking. That has sort of shaped my whole focus,” she shared.

Thousands of performers will enjoy the experience of a lifetime when they march down Colorado Blvd. on January 1, 2021, each with their own unique story

The bands selected are listed below, alphabetically.

  • Arcadia Apache Marching Band and Color Guard (Arcadia, CA)
  • Banda de Musica La Primavera (Santiago, Veraguas, Panama)
  • Bands of America Honor Band (United States)
  • The Pride of Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, OK)
  • Downingtown Blue and Gold Marching Band (Downingtown, PA)
  • Georgia State University Panther Band (Atlanta, GA)
  • Gibson County Tennessee Mass Band (Dyer, TN)
  • Hebron Marching Band (Carrollton, TX)
  • Homewood Patriot Band (Homewood, AL)
  • Los Angeles Unified School District – All District High School Honor Band (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Mira Mesa High School “Sapphire Sound” Marching Band and Color Guard (San Diego, CA)
  • O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers (O’Fallon, IL)
  • Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band and Herald Trumpets (Pasadena, CA)
  • Royal Swedish Cadet Band (Karlskrona, Sweden)
  • The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band (Los Angeles, CA)
  • St. Ursula Eichi Sendai Honor Band (Sendai, Miyagi, Japan)
  • Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards of Taipei First Girls High School (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
  • Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands (Nashville, TN)
  • Triuggio Marching Band (Triuggio, Monza and Brianza, Italy)
  • United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band (MCRD, San Diego and Camp Pendleton, CA)
  • Waukee Warrior Regiment (Waukee, IA)
Staff Writer