By David Rogers. April 17, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Emotions ran high Friday morning in Boone. Scores of emergency services personnel from around the High Country paid tribute to the area’s healthcare workers — and the feeling was mutual.
COVER IMAGE: Appalachian Regional Healthcare workers were appreciative of the tribute by fire and law enforcement departments, as well as the emergency services personnel with whom they interact on a daily basis.
Starting at the Watauga Medical Center parking lot, fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances paraded through town in a show of community support for those working on the front line in this pandemic war against Covid-19.
“This show of support from fire departments, law enforcement, and emergency services demonstrates that our community knows how to unify in times of crisis,” Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) CEO Chuck Mantooth told Blowing Rock News after the event. “Today they honored our healthcare professionals for the work that has been done over the last few months. We need to honor them, too, because they have been here with us from the start. At every level of our response, those people have been there planning with and preparing for what may happen next.
“We are in this together,” Mantooth added. “it’s not just Cannon Memorial Hospital and Watauga Medical Center. It’s all of ARHS, the fire departments, the police departments, emergency services, and the community. Seeing the support from the public and the faces of the people who are putting themselves on the frontlines, risking their lives for other people – all of it really hits home.”
ARHS Senior Vice President for System Development Rob Hudspeth described the impact of Friday’s event in very real, human terms.
“The emotion of the moment was overwhelming,” Hudspeth admitted. “When they drove through our parking lot, it was wonderful to see patients up and out of their beds, peering from the windows of their hospital rooms.
“This has been a difficult time for so many of them, ” Hudspeth continued, “being sick and not able to see family. This gesture from our emergency responders gave all of us a few moments of hope and happiness.”
Representatives of Blowing Rock’s fire, law enforcement, and town officials participated in the event. Mayor Charlie Sellers told Blowing Rock News that it was another example of the community coming together during this time of crisis, helping each other and supporting each other.
“We saw it with William’s Parade and we are seeing it with the Rock United Relief Fund,” observed Sellers. “Our residents are pulling together in this time of crisis, helping one another get through this.”
To date, AppHealthCare reports that there have been eight positive cases of Covid-19 recorded in Watauga County, four in Ashe County, and two in Allegheny County.