In healthcare centers across the country, nurses have continued to be the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The leadership at Plantation Bay Rehabilitation Center in St. Cloud, FL, was looking for creative ways to honor nurses and CNAs during Nurses Week 2020. That’s when Cathy O., the business development coordinator at Plantation Bay, came up with an exciting idea.

A surprise car parade was planned for the Friday of Nurses Week. Carol Desmond, the care center’s executive director, decided to make it an event that would be remembered for a long time to come. She contacted the local police department, fire department, assisted living organizations as well as current and past residents and their family members. Everyone was invited to participate in the surprise parade.

On Friday, Carol was able to get employees outside by planning an “ice cream social” at the care center. She announced that staff should head outdoors for the social. Behind the scenes, parade participants were gathering in a parking lot nearby, and residents were encouraged to watch the activities outside their windows.

What happened next was beautiful. The vehicles in the parade slowly made two loops around the building. The parade participants and spectators all began cheering, crying, and waving at each other. A past resident’s family even had a sign professionally printed for the parade. The sign thanked nurses and CNAs for their excellent care. The heartwarming parade was featured in the Osceola News-Gazette.

thank you parade for Plantation Bay nurses and CNAs
Staff holding a sign from the car parade

The parade was a fantastic success, and everyone headed back to work with renewed energy and enthusiasm. The staff at Plantation Bay continues to persist gracefully through the pandemic by continually adjusting to the “new normal.” Desmond, the ED, continues to praise her staff. “I just want to extend a special thank you to all of the care center staff. They have done such a great job responding to the challenges of COVID-19.”

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