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'It touches your soul': Neighbor kids play bagpipes and drums for nurse treating COVID-19 patients

Nurse Bev Lohrman was feeling anxious about work so her neighbor kids decided to encourage her with music. Now the whole neighborhood gathers to hear them play.

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. — History tells us warriors once used bagpipes and drums to frighten their enemies and boost morale on the battlefield. In Battle Ground, Washington, two brothers are wielding both instruments to encourage a “warrior” in their neighborhood: registered nurse, Bev Lohrman.

Lohrman works at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, where she cares for COVID-19 patients.

“It's a difficult situation to be in,” said Lohrman who, over her 20-year career, said she’d never once felt anxious about her job.

“Now with COVID-19, it has been a very new situation with me going into work,” she said. “Putting my health on the line and the health of my loved ones on the line.”

Lohrman’s neighbors Daniel Gillespie,15, and his brother, 12-year-old Logan Gillespie, wanted to do something to help.

“She was nervous about going into her shift,” said Daniel, who plays the drums.

“I just want to spread some happiness,” added Logan, who plays the bagpipes.

The brothers decided on a musical send-off every Wednesday night before Lohrman left for work. They’ve played every Wednesday evening since April 1.

“They just have really good hearts,” said the boys’ mother, Mistie Gillespie. “They were really open to sharing what they could do.”

Lohrman said she's grateful for the Gillespie’s musical gift.

“It touches your soul,” she said. “It just really is encouraging.”

That was especially true for Lohrman on the first night the Gillespie’s played for her. It happened to be the first night she was slated to care for COVID-19 patients and was feeling especially anxious. The boys played Amazing Grace, one of Lohrman’s mother's favorite songs and one her family played at her funeral.

“Two notes in, I knew it was Amazing Grace and I just lost it," said Lohrman. "I knew that that was my mom, she was telling me everything was going to be okay.”

The boys’ mother, Mistie was happy to learn about those special connections.

“We didn't know any of that in advance,” she said. “We didn't know anything about her mom, we didn't know that it was her first COVID shift… it was really touching to hear the backside.”

Lohrman feels the musical sendoffs are as much for her neighbors as they are for her.

“We're all going through this together,” she said. “It's been a great thing for our community, for our neighborhood and for me. It gives me great support.”

That means everything to the boys’ father, Ryan Gillespie. While his family may not be on the front lines, it’s clear to him that his sons own the battle cry.

“During a strange dark time,” he said, “It’s being able to share something that can bring some light.”

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