By Debbie Adams
Ashley Pressman, Administrator at the Berkshire Health and Rehabilitation in Vinton, says that last week a member of their crew suggested that what the center needed in these trying COVID-19 times was to throw a parade. All it took after that was a few phone calls to organize the event for the afternoon of April 28.
This was a time for the residents’ families to drive by, honk, see their loved one, and boost the morale throughout the building. Staff members were asked to check with family members to see who might want to participate and helped residents to decorate poster boards with messages to greet their loved ones.
“About 120 of our residents lined the sidewalks and parking lot that surrounds our building to watch over 100 cars packed with their loved ones,” Pressman shared. “There was also a mini horse, lots of dogs, and even a trumpet player. This was one of the most memorable days for us all. We are all in this together. Thank you to our families for their support.
“We know how important it is to stay in touch with friends and families during uncertain times,” Pressman said. “Our team has gone above and beyond to maintain close contact with families through regular updates, phone calls and video calls, but we wanted to do more than that. We wanted to create a touching moment that reminds the greater ‘Berkshire family’ that we are all in this together, and together we are stronger than ever before.”
The parade started off from the parking lot of Lake Drive Plaza near Big Lots, traveled up Clearview Drive, and into the front parking lot at Berkshire.
Admissions Director Jamie Hawse said family members were asked to stay in their cars and not stop. Residents were asked to observe social distancing as they waited for loved ones to drive by, staying six feet apart.
“The participation from our community was far greater than we could ever imagine when we extended the invitation to local friends and family members of our residents,” Pressman said. “When it was all said and done, it took more than 25 minutes to see the whole parade. This special moment was planned as a way to lift up our residents; but in the end, my team and I were uplifted as well. Today we made a memory that the Berkshire community will cherish for many years to come.”