SOUTH PLAINFIELD – South Plainfield Police, Fire Department and Emergency Management Services sounded their sirens as they paraded past the entryway of AristaCare at Cedar Oaks in South Plainfield on May 6 to honor staff on National Nurse Appreciation Day.  The staff was treated to lunch by the Police Department and Police Benevolent Association (PBA).  Nurses stood outside holding thank you signs as dozens of emergency personnel passed in their vehicles, waving and thanking the nurses for their dedication.

“Our frontline heroes have been amazing and really deserve this shout out!” said Steven Isaac, AristaCare Administrator.  “I’d like to give a huge thank you to the South Plainfield OEM and Emergency Services for their support during these difficult times. The parade was a real boost!”

Organized by South Plainfield Police Captain and Deputy Coordinator of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Charles Siedenburg, the parade was a gesture of appreciation from essential workers for essential workers.  

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“Almost every Friday we've been dropping off supplies at AristaCare that's been coming through Middlesex County Emergency Management through the FEMA Surplus of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gowns, face masks and gloves,” said Siedenburg.  

AristaCare is a rehabilitation center providing clinical care and nursing home services.  The AristaCare staff of 275 employees keeps a vigilant watch over the 200 patients who reside in the facility, working in shifts of 50 staff members at a time.  

“We can see how the stress has taken a toll on the staff there,” said Siedenburg.  “This was a little something we could do for them.”    

With approximately 30 residents currently testing positive for Covid-19 and 24 who have recovered from the virus, the staff has worked tirelessly to care for patients.  To show their appreciation, the Police Department and PBA provided pizza and wraps from Rodolfo’s Pizzeria. Many staff members say they were humbled by the expression of gratitude.

“The most valuable recognition to our staff for their care and dedication is when that recognition comes from those who themselves excel in their care, dedication and commitment to the community; We are truly honored!” said Robert Greenberger, Executive Director.  

With social distancing and protective measures in place, the staff expressed their gratitude to the first responders by holding thank you signs and waving to the emergency personnel as they passed.

“We work so hard and the parade made us feel great,” said Sashi Singh, CNA.  “It was so awesome, and we loved the food. Thanks for the lunch!”

“The parade was so nice,” said Jazimen Brown, Nurse.  “Thank you, thank you, thank you!  First responders are the true superheroes who are out there every day.”  

“It was wonderful, and we are very appreciative of everything the first responders do,” Rose Kane, Charge Nurse.  “We are all in this together and if we can get through this, we can get through anything.” 

“Thank you for everything!”  Claudine Desire, CNA.  “We appreciate it since we’re all working so hard.”

“First responders recognized us, and we recognize them as well!”  Mariama Ware, CNA.  "Thank you!”

“We really appreciate them caring and thinking about us,” Emile Buck, Charge Nurse. 

Siedenburg says it’s about looking out for one another and lifting morale whenever possible during this challenging time.  

“We’re trying to help out,” said Siedenburg.  “AristaCare is South Plainfield’s healthcare facility, and they’re keeping an eye on a large amount of patients, so we wanted to show our appreciation on National Nurses Day.” 

"South Plainfield has always been a wonderful support for our facility," said Isaac.  "This has been a difficult time and the staff has been working so hard.  What the first responders did for us was really incredible.  South Plainfield is a great community."