Ponoka resident Shirley Turner helped to spur a salute to health care workers event on Monday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in front of the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre.
Turner says that with all the recent “doom and gloom,” she felt a show of support like this would be a good morale boost to the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital.
“I just hope they get the message that we support them and thank them for what they’re doing,” she said.
“We’re here for you, we have your back and we love you … we can’t thank them enough.”
Turner moved to Ponoka five months ago from Ontario to be closer to family. She’s originally from Britain, where these kinds of events have become popular as a way to show gratitude to health care and other front line, essential workers.
Turner says she’d like to show support for all essential personnel, including first responders, grocery store workers and truck drivers, but will settle for this event at the hospital for now.
In the meantime, she’s on her porch every evening, clapping her thanks, whether she’s the only one out or not.
Turner reached out to East District Fire Chief Dale Morrow, who then requested the Ponoka RCMP and EMS services to participate as well.
Some of the firefighters were already interested in doing such an event and jumped on board and Morrow expects between four to eight fire trucks to show up.
A couple of RCMP vehicles participated as well as several fire trucks.
Morrow added the hospital was aware of the event ahead of time, and someone even called him to ask if something like this was being planned, so the hospital had no objections.
Starting right at 7 p.m., the vehicles did a slow drive by, sounding the sirens a couple of times and flashing their lights in a quiet salute to health care workers, while pratising social distancing.
“It’s not the time to make that kind of noise,” he said.
Morrow added that because of public health measures in place, the public was asked not to gather for the event.
“We’re not looking to attract a crowd.”