They walked quietly, with purpose and remembrance.
For about 50 people, they walked to show support for the patients and staff at Peterson Regional Medical Center.
Led by Joan Cortez, the walk drew inspiration from a sermon by Southern Oaks Church Pastor Joe Taylor, speaking on the power of teamwork. That led Cortez to help organize Thursday's prayer session and seven-lap walk around the hospital.
Joan Cortez, center, comforts a friend on Thursday as Southern Oaks Church Pastor Joe Taylor speaks before offering a prayer to those who were praying and walking to honor those hospitalized with COVID-19 and the staff at Peterson Regional Medical Center.
Since the first of July, Peterson Regional Medical Center has faced the direst of the COVID-19 Delta surge, with as many as 46 people hospitalized at one time.
"I was praying for some friends; I have a friend who has been in (intensive care unit), and it just hit me that this was something we needed to do," Cortez said. "The more Pastor Joe preached, the more it confirmed everything in my heart that we all needed to be united."
So, they gathered in front of the hospital. The idea was simple — pray and then walk seven times around the hospital. It was a biblical ode to Joshua, who led his people seven times around the wall of Jericho.
"God talks about still speaking in a still small voice," Taylor said. "Sometimes we ignore whispers, and (Cortez) didn't. She asked me what I thought and I just said if you feel led to do it — do it. And there was a great response."
On a warm September afternoon, the walk kept everyone focused on the mission at hand.
Cory Edmondson, Peterson Health president and CEO, was equally inspired by the outreach.
"From my perspective, we will take any kind of help that people are willing to give from a community standpoint," Edmondson said. "Prayer and faith are critical in healing and people's lifeblood. So, this is meaningful to me personally as a CEO that people would be willing to come out and do this."
After two laps, most were drenched in sweat, but they carried on — joined by Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn and City Councilwoman Brenda Hughes. Others joined the group, some left early, but all worked through the laps at their own pace.