Iowa man shows appreciation to nurses by releasing 50 white doves


SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – For most people, showing appreciation is done with a simple thank you, flowers, or another small gift. But for one Siouxland cancer patient, going bigger was better.

White doves are a sign of love and peace, but for a former chemotherapy patient, they were a sign of appreciation to the nurses that helped him through his difficult time.

“I wanted to show how much I appreciate the nurses and what they’ve done for me. I was here three weeks and without the nurses, it would’ve been very difficult,” Russ Guthridge, a former chemotherapy patient said.

Russ Guthridge recently completed chemotherapy at UnityPoint St. Luke’s. To thank Hailey Brewer and the rest of the nursing staff, Gutheridge released 50 doves in their honor.

“This is beautiful, you know. We never had anything like this at St. Luke’s. I’ve never got to see something like this, so it was just a wonderful, wonderful way to say thank you and we always want to say thank you to you guys as well,” Hailey Brewer, one of Guthridge’s nurses said.

Guthridge raised the birds. He lives in Aurelia and says his doves are trained to fly home.

“They have races with these doves up to four to 600 miles. We live about 60 miles away, so it won’t take them long at all to get home,” Guthridge says.

Guthridge says the doves are a symbol of love, peace, hope, and new beginnings. In this case, it’s also a blessing for his caregivers.

“The nurses were super. I couldn’t ask for anything better. They made life bearable. Three weeks of chemo was difficult and without the nurses, you know, they really made it bearable,” Guthridge said.

“It’s been a hard year for the nurses, for all the staff at UnityPoint St. Luke’s and just releasing of the doves saying, ‘Thank you,’ it means so much to us and you know, it’s very heartfelt,” Brewer said.

Guthridge raised the doves over the past decade and releases them for Siouxland weddings and other special occasions. It took only a couple of hours for the doves to get back to Aurelia.

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