A spectacular show of support for healthcare workers took place Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, as more than 60 public safety vehicles with flashing lights surrounded a local hospital.
The scene at Mercer Health in Coldwater, Ohio, included hundreds of First Responders and local residents who gathered to publicly thank all frontline workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zach Piper of the Mercer County Emergency Response Volunteers (MCERV) began organizing the event just a few days earlier.
“I saw how events like this were being done in big cities and at children’s hospitals and thought it would be a great way to honor our healthcare workers,” said Piper, whose wife works at the hospital. “At the beginning of COVID there was plenty of support for all healthcare workers, but not a whole lot anymore.”
Mercer County this week reported more than 2,500 cases and 44 deaths from COVID-19 since March. The numbers have spiked in recent weeks. Doctors, nurses and staff members at local hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities are tired and overwhelmed. Many of them have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are under quarantine for exposure. This means longer hours for those still working and fewer people to care for the growing number of patients.
Monte Diegel, 911 coordinator at the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, said the “Lights on for Healthcare” event was a perfect way to show unity.
“This was important because we are all really in this pandemic together,” he said. “We need to support each other and encourage each other until we are out of this. Our healthcare workers are a very critical part of the chain and this is just one way to say thank you to the team at Mercer Health for all their hard work.”
Totally Promotional donated two banners that were printed with the phrase “We are in this together.” The banners hung on fire trucks parked at the hospital.
Circling the hospital with lights flashing were manned emergency vehicles from local fire departments, the county sheriff’s department, the Emergency Management Agency, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, several police departments and squads, and MCERV personnel. An emergency helicopter, Lutheran Air from Fort Wayne, Ind., did a flyover during the event to show their support.
The emergency vehicles paraded around a nearby nursing home, Briarwood Village, before returning to their communities.
Piper said he felt holding the event near Thanksgiving was appropriate. He hopes all healthcare workers know how much everyone appreciates their hard work.
“We hoped to raise the morale of healthcare workers who are dealing with more cases and getting pulled from one department to the next to cover others …,” he said. “They need to know that we really are all in this together.”