The drive-by parade party trend is still rolling across the U.S. during these times of COVID-19 and on Wednesday, one procession in San Diego honored a big group of heroes: nurses working for a senior living community.
The parade of love – held on National Nurses Day – was a tribute to the 400 nurses who work across the senior living communities of St. Paul’s Senior Services. At around 11 a.m., approximately 40 cars gathered to caravan to five St. Paul’s buildings in San Diego, honking their horns and cheering for the nurses.
Passengers rolled down their windows and held signs expressing their gratitude for the nurses; other cars had messages painted on their windows including, “We love St. Paul’s Nurses!” and “Happy Nurses Day!”
The route began at St. Paul’s Plaza in Chula Vista. The procession was led by a Chula Vista Fire Department engine. As the engine drove past the entrance of the building, a message was heard on the loudspeaker: “Thank you for all you do.”
Then, car horns and cheering, and a lot of chants of “We love you!” coming from the cars that followed.
Nurses and residents stood outside the building waving to the parade participants. And, although they were all wearing masks, the happiness on their faces was easy to see.
The parade made its way to St. Paul’s PACE Akaloa in Chula Vista, then St. Paul's PACE Reasner in downtown San Diego, St. Paul’s Manor and McColl buildings in Bankers Hill, and finally, St. Paul’s Villa on 4th Avenue in uptown San Diego.
Amanda Gois, Marketing Director for St. Paul’s Senior Services, said the senior living community’s nurses deserve a parade every day for their dedication on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 has really brought out the challenges in health care but has also brought out how nurses really make a difference,” said Cheryl Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of St. Paul’s Senior Services. “Without nurses, we don’t have health care.”
Amanda Gois, Marketing Director for St. Paul’s Senior Services, told NBC 7 there have been no cases of COVID-19 at St. Paul’s Senior Services residential buildings since the pandemic reached San Diego County.
She said that’s because the nursing staff goes above and beyond, every day.
“Seniors are the ones we have to care for the most,” said Gois. “We have 1,400 seniors in our communities, and we have to keep them all safe.”
Gois said each St. Paul’s nurse and staffer is screened daily before they enter a building, for temperature and secondary exposures to COVID-19. Once they’re cleared, they can work.
“We are so blessed; our nurses have done a great job,” Wilson said.
Now, normally for Nurses Day, Wilson said St. Paul’s would host parties across its facilities for its nurses, with lunch and visits with residents and their families.
But, in a time of social distancing and lockdowns at senior living facilities, that’s just not possible.
So, a parade it was.
“We’re not able to do that right now, but this is our way to show our love to our staff,” Wilson added.