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DeKalb County Healthcare Worker Appreciation Parade set for Wednesday. Here's how to participate.

Healthcare workers from eight facilities will be honored and celebrated with a drive-by parade on Wednesday, July 8.

Line up for the DeKalb County Healthcare Worker Appreciation Parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb. The parade will start at 2 p.m.

The parade route will include Pine Acres Rehab & Living Center, Barb City Manor, DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center, Oak Crest – DeKalb Area Retirement Center, Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, all in DeKalb, and Kindred Hospital and Lincolnshire Place in Sycamore.

Several longterm care facilities in DeKalb County are now linked to COVID-19 outbreaks, with the largest at Pine Acres, which as of Monday reports 80 cases and 12 deaths according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. There are also 10 reported cases at Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion in Sandwich, two at Bethany Rehabilitation and Health Care Center and three at the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing center.

Kish Hospital, along with other healthcare facilities, has designated COVID-19 units for patients and providers.

Participants at Wednesday’s parade are encouraged to decorate their cars and create posters for the parade, but should keep social distancing in mind.

Community members can join in the parade anytime along the route or at a particular healthcare facility.

Ashley Foltz, a nursing student at Kishwaukee College in Malta and president of the Nursing Honor Society, had the idea of starting a healthcare worker appreciate parade in DeKalb County after participating in a similar parade in Rochelle.

“I thought that parade was amazing and had never seen anything like it done in DeKalb County,” Foltz said. “Everyone knows someone who works in the healthcare field. They’re constantly working, not only during COVID, but 365 days a year, they’re busting their tails. Healthcare is a team effort of everyone working together: doctors, nurses, dietary aides, housekeeping. And after working all day to keep everyone healthy, they return home and take care of their families.”

Lovetts Towing, based out of DeKalb, will participate in the parade with every vehicle in their fleet not on call, about 20 vehicles. The towing company has also donated to Taking Care of Our Caretakers, which helped bring meals to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

“The parade is a way to reach out to healthcare workers, show our support and say thank you for their hard work,” said Shannon Lovett, general manager of Lovetts Towing. “I don’t think healthcare workers are valued or appreciated enough, especially the nurses. They do an enormous amount of work one-on-one with the patients. I feel they’re slightly undervalued outside of the walls of a hospital. I think that anybody that’s been sick in the past or has a family member in a nursing home or assisting living, if you’ve had any interaction with a healthcare worker, this is a great opportunity to say thank you.”

Foltz hopes that everyone in the community, not just businesses or family members and friends of healthcare workers, will participate in Wednesdays’ parade.

“Now is a great time to let healthcare workers know that we really do appreciate what they’re doing,” Foltz said. “One thing I’ve learned about the healthcare profession is you don’t go into it for the praise, you go into it because you want to help people. But they don’t always get a thank you, and sometimes it’s hard to remember they’re appreciated. I hope this parade tells them, ‘We see you, we know what you’re doing and we appreciate you.’”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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