On April 10th, in a show of unity, gratitude and empathy, the two rivers community of police, firefighters and EMS workers united outside the Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center to salute the healthcare workers early Friday evening.
The enthusiastic crowd of well over 300 lined the entrance to the hospital with homemade signs and American flags, cheering and clapping for the workers as they entered and left the facility.
Several dozen firetrucks, police and EMS vehicles surrounded the parking lot. Two firetrucks raised their extension ladders over Front Street, together hanging a large American flag.
Kelli O’Brien, the Chief Hospital Executive, HMH Riverview Medical Center, said, “It was incredible to see so many first responders from across the Two River area come together and stand with all of our healthcare heroes. It was one of the most incredible moments I have ever experienced in my 22 years here at Riverview - I have chills thinking about it. We are a part of an exceptional community, and we are so thankful for the outpouring of support and love that so many people have shown us while we battle this pandemic.”
At one point the sirens and horns sounded loudly together, amplifying the excitement of the supporters. It was an American event at its best, God Bless America sung out loud, as hundreds saluted our country's flag.
Red Bank Police Capt. Michael Frazee said, “The health care workers in our community and across the nation deserve our recognition and our deepest gratitude as they are truly fighting on the front lines to save lives. It's what goes on behind the scenes that we don't see. These professionals take enormous personal risks, for themselves and their families in caring for the sick. Most work 12 to 18-hour shifts, leave exhausted to only wake-up a few hours later and return to do their mission-critical job all over again. That's called dedication to America!”
Even with masks on, you could see it in the eyes of the hospital workers how deeply appreciative they were for this morale booster.
“We salute the staff at Riverview Medical Center that are fighting on the front lines of this battle against the rapidly spreading virus affecting communities around the world. The salutes given across the country provides support and boosts morale for both staff and those saluting. Knowing these professionals are working tirelessly gives communities a peace of mind. Strong-hearted Americans is how we are, the UNITED States,” said Scott Calabrese, Chief of the Red Bank Fire Department.