Creston residents rally in support of health-care workers

Residents gathered for a walk to the Creston Valley Hospital in support of health-care workers on Sept. 19. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)Residents gathered for a walk to the Creston Valley Hospital in support of health-care workers on Sept. 19. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Jo Anne Haworth, Town Counsellor Arn DeBoon, and his wife Wendy. (Submitted by Nancy DeVuono)Jo Anne Haworth, Town Counsellor Arn DeBoon, and his wife Wendy. (Submitted by Nancy DeVuono)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)

The fourth wave of COVID-19 has continued to have a tremendous emotional and physical toll on the health-care workers on the front lines.

With no foreseeable end to the pandemic, Creston residents Jan Zacharias and Allan Gribbin decided to organize a community walk to say thank you to those dedicated people.

“Last year, we used to step out on our porches and cheer for health-care workers at 7 p.m.,” said Zacharias.

“Remember that? Now, we’re a year and a half into this pandemic, and they need to know that they’re still appreciated.”

On the afternoon of Sept. 19, a group of residents gathered at the Creston and District Community Complex with posters and banners with written messages like “You are the best!” and “You are appreciated!”

Together with signs in hand, supporters took the short walk to the Creston Valley Hospital and applauded the nurses and doctors waiting outside.

Local artist Bruce Paterson presented a hand-painted poster to staff members to be hung on one of the hospital walls. It depicts health-care workers in their scrubs surrounded by hearts and reads, ‘Love and appreciation for all you do.’

“It was very emotional and really meant a lot to all of us,” said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans.

“Thank you to everyone for taking time out of their weekends to do this. I’ll always remember it.”

Kleinhans asked that residents show kindness to staff whenever they visit the hospital.

“This has been hard for everybody, so please just have patience,” she said.

“There are so many shifts when we don’t know until a day before if we can even keep the emergency room open. But somehow, someone always steps up, yet again. Everyone is really tired, but we are committed to making this work. We’ll continue to give people the best care we can.”

Another staff member at the hospital,Dr. Barry Oberleitner, agreed that it was very touching to see the community come together.

“We’ve been trying very hard to keep health services running,” he said. “A lot of our nurses have been putting in overtime and working many extra hours.”

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