Look, we don’t mean to be critical, especially when it comes to Long Beach’s healthcare workers and first responders, but, frankly, it was difficult for anyone covering Wednesday’s “Operation Thank You” parade running through both Long Beach Memorial and St. Mary medical centers, to figure out exactly what was going on? We mean, exactly who was being honored?
Was it the healthcare workers who stood outside their hospitals—a welcome change of scenery, they told us—to be celebrated with siren blasts from a long line of emergency vehicles from Long Beach fire and police departments? Or was it the folks from fire and police, who drove by to the exuberant shouts and woots of a long line of healthcare workers?
It probably didn’t really matter. St. Mary’s and Memorial are trauma centers and so the healthcare workers and first responders see each other on a regular basis. Wednesday’s parade only offered them a chance to formalize the respect they share for each other on a daily basis.
And, as Audrey Kinney-King, a nurse who works in St. Mary’s respiratory care center said, “it was just nice to be outside.”
It turns out that not only are healthcare workers spending long hours inside their hospitals, isolated from the rest of the world, they are also isolated from each other as they work in their respective departments. So, when they saw the light of day, and each other, as you would expect, they went a little happy. Like happy! The energy as they stood along the parade route in their color-coded scrubs, laughing, shouting, waving, had the feel of a company, or high school, picnic.
That same energy was thrown at the fire and police vehicles as they passed and the fire and police folks threw the energy and respect right back at the assembled, the whole thing turning into one big mutual admiration event.
It was all made official when the staffs at both hospitals were presented with a “Certificate of Recognition” from the office of Mayor Robert Garcia. Though, clearly, that was just stating the obvious: these two groups clearly recognized the value in each other. (Steve Lowery)