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5 health care heroes to deliver green flag for Indy 500

Bernice Powell, Chris O'Day, Chris Peyton, Phil Kibler and Matt Davidson will deliver the green flag to signal the start of the race.

INDIANAPOLIS — Five health care heroes have been nominated to board a LifeLine helicopter Sunday, May 30 to deliver the green flag for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500.  

The group includes: 

  • Bernice Powell, an IU Health EVS team member, who helped keep Riley Hospital for Children clean and safe during the pandemic.  
  • Chris O’Day, an IU Health nursing director, who lead the COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusion center back in November.  
  • Chris Peyton, a nurse at St. Vincent Dunn Hospital, whose life was saved with the help of two LifeLine paramedics during an extremely severe cardiac episode back in August.  
  • Phil Kibler, a LifeLine flight paramedic and nurse, who helped save Chris Peyton.
  • Matt Davidson, a LifeLine flight paramedic, who helped save Chris Peyton. 

The group will board a LifeLine helicopter on race morning and fly across the city to the track before landing inside Turn 1. They will then take a lap around the track in an official Indy 500 pace car to deliver the green flag to signal the start of the race.

"This Is Us" actor Milo Ventimiglia will wave the green flag to start this year's Indy 500.

“This will be my first ever Indy 500, and the green flag is very exciting. It’s overwhelming,” Powell said.

Credit: IU Health
The IU Health LifeLine flying near the Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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It’s a huge honor for these health care heroes after such a trying year. That’s why O’Day will be thinking of all the other health care heroes who have been on the frontlines. It’s also personal for her after her parents and herself had COVID-19. 

“My part was very small, but I am very humbled to be able to represent them all,” O'Day said.  

After life-saving surgery last August, Peyton is doing much better. He said it will be emotional to be back inside a LifeLine helicopter.  

“To be in the helicopter and not be in the same shape I was that day and to be able to enjoy the ride and do some sightseeing and not worrying…I’m thankful for that,” Peyton said.  

The two IU Health paramedics are also happy to be there with him.  

“To see him do something that literally was really close to never happening and to watch him be able to do that will be what’s fulfilling for me,” Kibler said.


Race day coverage begins at 5 a.m. on WTHR Channel 13, your home for the Indianapolis 500. 

The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will air live on WTHR Channel 13 on Sunday, May 30. The decision to lift the blackout was made on Thursday.

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