Direct care staff members at a New York-based facility were recently celebrated in a creative way for their COVID-19 frontline efforts.  

First responders feted frontline workers and residents by parading around the facility in hopes it would brighten their day. 

The city of Mount Vernon hosted a “First Responders Parade” in support of Wartburg, a New York provider that offers long-term care and assisted living. The parade featured personnel from the fire and police departments, mayor’s office, city council, office of emergency management, public works and recreation departments. 

“The gesture is an inspiration to this team as we begin to heal in the aftermath of unprecedented physically and emotionally challenging circumstances, and I am grateful to the mayor for recognizing the unsung healthcare heroes who work in the post-acute environment,” said David J. Gentner, MPA, NHA, CASP, Wartburg President and CEO. 

The parade traveled through Wartburg’s entire 34-acre campus. The city also provided grab-and-go meals for second-shift staff members who missed out on the celebration. 

“We are a resilient community and you are here doing heroes’ work. We just wanted to show our appreciation to you on this day,” Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said. 

The first responders’ tribute came on the heels of the provider’s own family parade, which it hosted in honor of Mother’s Day just five days earlier. That celebration proceeded through the entire campus — twice — allowing residents and family members multiple opportunities to connect, despite being restricted from in-person visits.

“My family was able to wave to our mother in her window and when we spoke with her after, she was overjoyed,” said Robert Ranieri, Wartburg’s Home Board Chairman. “These are tough times for all, but it is special to have a moment like this with her and we thank the Wartburg staff for putting it together.”