Several of Abbotsford’s neighbourhood streets are adorned with blue ribbons and hearts to express gratitude and solidarity with B.C.’s healthcare workers, as they journey to the front lines.
Jenny Spielman’s daughter is a nurse at Chilliwack’s General Hospital. About two weeks ago her family started tying the ribbons to trees and street poles to let healthcare workers know they are in everyone’s thoughts.
“She drives to work and comes home, and it’s really a lonely place for them. They’re feeling isolated,” Spielman said. “They’re getting up to work at for early shift… and it’s a long shift.
“And I just thought for my daughter, what would be encouraging to her when she drives down the road?”
The idea has started to catch on. Streets along Old Clayburn Road, McKinley Drive and Ledgeview Golf Course are now a little more colourful – and Spielman wasn’t prompting anyone.
“It’s not a big thing yet,” she said. “We’re trying to get this message out there… Almost every single neighbourhood is going to have a healthcare worker that lives there.”
Yesterday, March 26, a man posted to the Sandy Hill Community Facebook group about how much it meant to him to see a young man tying a blue ribbon to a sign post. He said his wife is a support nurse who has been redeployed into a pediatric unit.
“I honked and gave him a thumbs up when I realized what he was doing. He smiled and looked at me and went about his solitary tribute,” he said. “I was playing a song that I’ve been playing for a week, and then as I drove, I realized that there were blue ribbons on dozens and dozens of signs all down Old Clayburn Road.
“It hit me quite hard and I choked up.”
Spielman said her daughter told her all the symbols of community support have meant a lot to other healthcare workers. Police vehicles in Abbotsford and Chilliwack have been driving in convoys with their sirens blasting at 7 p.m. to join the province-wide applause.
“[The nurses] actually thought there was a big incident happening. And then they realized this was all a support for them,” Spielman said. “It just about brought her to tears.”
“They feel really alone in it sometimes. I think stuff like that just really makes them realize there’s people thinking for them, and praying for them.”