BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - At 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, Berkeley Heights first responders along with surrounding communities showed the frontline healthcare workers at Runnells Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare their appreciation with a three-minute caravan of vehicles to applaud the workers.

The Berkeley Heights Police Department led the parade followed by BHFD, BHVRS and the surrounding communities of Chatham, Fanwood, Union, New Providence, Stirling, Long Hill, Watchung, Springfield, Warren, Millington, Scotch Plains, Summit and Mountainside. -- Sirens were blaring for a stunning show of solidarity with these healthcare workers who have been battling the frontline of the COVID-19 disease. Since the onset of this COVID-19 pandemic, Runnells Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare has reported 124 cases and 24 deaths to the Communicable Disease Service at the New Jersey Department of Health.

"It was an emotionally stirring moment to watch the health care and essential workers at Runnells honored by our first responders from Berkeley Heights and surrounding communities," said Mayor Angie Devanney. "I am full of pride today."

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In addition to this showing of support, the Township has urged the community to stand on their front step for a town-wide clapout at 7 p.m. on Friday at the sounding of the town center fire alarm. Stand outside and make some noise to show our solidarity and appreciation for the healthcare workers at the long-term care facilities and emergency response workers. As always, please remember to keep a safe social distance from your neighbors!

The healthcare workers at Autumn Lake Healthcare and Runnells Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare have been working day and night taking care of some of our town’s most vulnerable residents in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them falling victim to the virus themselves. Meanwhile, many residents in town are health care workers elsewhere, taking care of COVID-19 patients. And with next week being National EMS Week, this clapout will not only show appreciation for our health care workers, but also for all of our emergency responders here in Berkeley Heights.