Curious nurses, transport staff and doctors began to file out the front door Friday after noon on Garland Street – wondering just what Mayor Carlo DeMaria and First Lady Stacy DeMaria were doing outside with about 60 City employees and residents.
On the other side of the street was a table full of hot meals – all intended to surprise and encourage the health care workers in Everett’s hospital who have been fighting the COVID-19 virus for a month now.
A host of Everett residents, elected officials and City workers came out to the CHA Everett Hospital on Friday afternoon to encourage the many health care workers at the hospital fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Holding a rally with police and fire vehicles driving by, and scores of residents clapping and banging on pans outside, Everett Bank treated the workers to prepared meals and Encore Boston Harbor donated flowers. Hospital workers called it a lovely and thoughtful gesture to recognize them in the midst of a very tough time medically.
Then came the sound of sirens from down the hill.
With nurses, security officers, food service workers, doctors and all other kinds of health care personnel gathered on one side of the sidewalk, just about every police and fire vehicle came streaming up the street past the entrance.
Hundreds of hands clapped, people pounded on pots and pans (the universal sign of support for health workers), and sirens blared.
The rally was sustained for more than 15 minutes, and the heaviness and historic nature of the event was not lost on anyone who was present.
“That was lovely and thoughtful and touching to see such support for us,” said Dr. Melissa Lai-Becker afterward.
ICU Nurse Manager Kim Hartman-Poulin gathered up meals for her nurses busy inside caring for critical COVID-19 patients in the ICU, and said it was a move for which words could not express gratitude.
“They are so grateful, just really thankful,” she said. “There aren’t really words for it. They’re grateful.”
Mayor DeMaria, along with his wife Stacy, organized the “Day of Gratitude” to thank first responders and health care workers risking their own lives working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We simply want to say thank you to those who run towards danger and selflessly go to work every day to save people’s lives,” said the mayor. “We can never do enough to recognize and thank them for their courageous service.”
The day began at 6:45 a.m. with Department of Public Works employees delivering thousands of flowers, donated by Encore Boston Harbor, to CHA employees at Everett Hospital during their morning shift change.
Brian Gullbrants, President of Encore Boston Harbor, said, “We are pleased that we are able to bring Everett residents a little joy during this otherwise difficult time.”
Throughout the day city employees installed banners and lawn signs thanking health care workers at multiple locations, including municipal buildings, parks, businesses, and private residences.
At 12:30 p.m., Richard O’ Neil, Jr., president and CEO of the Everett Cooperative Bank, provided lunches made by Square Deli for police, fire, and 911 first responders on duty.
“I want to thank the Mayor and Stacy for coming up with this great idea and allowing Everett Bank to participate,” said O’Neil. “I also want to thank my Board of Directors for this generous donation. It is just a small gesture to thank those who put their lives at risk every day…These folks run into a tsunami of this virus every day and they don’t blink while in the storm. We need to thank them for that.”
At 2:30 p.m., as Everett Hospital employees were coming and going for their 3 p.m. shift change, they were greeted by a crowd of masked well-wishers practicing social distancing while cheering and clapping for employees. Again, meals were provided along with flowers while a stream of emergency vehicles acknowledged the workers with lights, sirens and shouts of encouragement.
“Our staff greatly appreciated the tremendous turnout from the City of Everett – from Mayor DeMaria, Representative Joe McGonagle, many city councilors, and both the Police and Fire Departments – your energy and kindness were felt by all,” said Christian Lanphere, site administrator for CHA Everett Hospital and Director of Safety and Emergency Planning. “This ‘thank you’ event demonstrated the strength and unity of the city, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to serve and care for Everett residents.”