Assisted living health care workers saluted in Smyrna

Hannah Sackey, a staff member at the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, holds a handmade sign for a tribute to first responders from Kent County at the hospital on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

SMYRNA — This time, the lights flashed and sirens blared for them.

Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill staff stepped outside to watch a nine-vehicle caravan roll by on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters and paramedics paid a three-minute visit to salute what’s tough work even in far better times than now. The arrived just before 3 p.m. when a shift change meant the most employees possible were coming and going.

Consider the message of gratitude well received.

“The people here are working through very terrifying conditions, some are working 12 hour days, others are working for a week straight,” Division of Services for Aging & Adults With Physical Disabilities Dava Newnam said.

“They don’t do it for praise, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. All of them are absolutely super heroes and it does mean something to be recognized by the community for what they do each day.”

A Smyrna fire truck arrives with other first responders from Kent County at The Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Fire companies from Smyrna, Clayton and Leipsic were joined by American Legion Station 64 ambulance service and Delaware Fire Police. After passing through DHCI, they headed a short distance south on U.S. 13 to show support for Pinnacle Rehabilitation and Health Center.

After watching similar tributes elsewhere on the news, pharmacist Peter Awad described the up close experience as “refreshing” and “surreal.”

Said staff member Katherine Custer, “It’s nice to see even though we’re all pretty humble and don’t need the focus to be on us.

“It’s a beautiful day, though, and still nice to know they spent their time coming to see us and acknowledge what we do.”

Area Sens. Bruce Ennis and Dave Lawson arrived early, joined by Rep. Bill Bush. Rep. William Carson rode in a fire truck.

The staff at The Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill wave and hold signs in a salute to first responders from Kent County at the hospital on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“There are great people in that hospital, they’re the salt of the earth,” Sen. Lawson said. “I’m extremely proud of them for taking care of those who need the most help day in and day out whether it’s in the midst or a pandemic or crisis or whatever the day brings.”

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AP News Coronavirus Coverage
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