NORTH JERSEY — They’re the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s two words North Jersey’s older demographic has to say (virtually, of course) in the face of this devastation, punctuated with a mighty hashtag: Senior Strong.   

While many baby boomers look forward to taking laid-back trips to the picturesque Amish Country in Pennsylvania and exciting excursions to Broadway shows amid the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple in the springtime, the customers of one family-owned and operated travel company are choosing to stay positive as they quarantine at home throughout this pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 4,200 people in New Jersey and more than 168,900 worldwide. 

After Green Mountain Tours — buses of which depart in Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Paramus and the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Totowa — was forced to cancel hundreds of day trips for senior citizens who are residents of Bergen and Passaic Counties from March into next month, these seniors and their families are showing their fortitude throughout the current health crisis and their hopefulness for brighter days ahead with their new social media campaign. 

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“Customers have been telling us how much they were looking forward to the future and shared the sentiment we’re sharing and it took on a life of its own,” explained Brooke Lawer, whose official title is the granddaughter in charge of sales and marketing, at Green Mountain Tours. 

Using the SeniorStrong hashtag, seniors have been sending in pictures and videos of themselves talking about what the new catchphrase means to them. In a short video, some said it means “taking care of others,” while another said being “Senior Strong” is about being strong for her grandmother. For another, it means that “we can pull together and overcome any crisis,” while another embraces the old British adage, “keep calm and carry on.”  

Aside from vocal support from their loyal customers, they also donated money to Green Mountain Tours during a 48-hour fundraiser which paid for 50 hot meals per night for a week from Tommy Fox’s in Bergenfield, which the owner hand-delivered to the health care workers on the front lines of Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck — a place officials dubbed in recent weeks a “war zone” given its barrage of Covid-19 patients being treated in its modestly-sized hospital.  

“If there’s any shred of light in all of this, it is bringing us together,” said Lawer. “We do believe difficult times are bringing out the best in people. Their strength can help the whole community.”

For more information on Green Mountain Tours and the #SeniorStrong movement, visit them on Facebook or go to greenmountaintours.com