NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It's no easy task - voluntarily walking headfirst into the unknown.
The many health care workers who dropped everything to be there for New York City are returning home Wednesday after weeks on the front line.
New York City's cry for help was answered by modern day heroes donning scrubs and surgical masks. Wednesday, many of those workers from far away will finish their last 12-hour shift and head home.
They were applauded and cheered by police officers and firefighters outside the hotel on Seventh Avenue where they've been staying as they left for their respective hospitals one last time.
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Some came from the midwest.
"I came here prepared, knowing I was putting my life at risk, but I didn't see any other way of doing so," said Therese Murkowski, an RN from Wisconsin.
"It's been an experience that I'll never forget," said Jason Anderson, an RN from Orlando. "Sadly, the family and friends of the patients aren't allowed to be there, so one positive thing is that we are there at the end with them, holding their hands, being with them."
These health care workers left their homes and families behind to work 12-hour shifts for three weeks straight in the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
While many will head home and self quarantine, others are not done fighting just yet.
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"I've been here since April 4th and I'm extending for another eight weeks," Murkowski said.
These medical professionals dropped everything to help, not knowing when - or even in what condition - they would be returning home. But in a city that recognizes their sacrifices, many are happy to do so.
"Hearing New York clap for us, that's an amazing sensation. We were walking across the street one day, we saw a family clapping for us and then their little child started clapping and that almost made me cry," one health care worker said.
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It further proves it's true what they say: Not all heroes wear capes.
The Navy ship USNS Comfort will also be departing after its three-week stay. According to President Donald Trump, it will return to its home port in Virginia and prepare for its next mission, which remains to be seen.
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