Law enforcement officials saluted healthcare workers Thursday afternoon with a “Thank You Parade” for the Peconic Bay Medical Center employees working tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parade was part of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office attempt to show its appreciation for the hard working men and women on the frontlines. Several of its vehicles, including specialized ones like the BAT (Blood Alcohol Testing) vehicle and the MRAP, its Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected Vehicle, drove by the Riverhead hospital’s front entrance on Roanoke Avenue, where dozens of healthcare workers and other hospital employees stood, and Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. was on hand to give his personal thanks, as well.
State police motorcycle units led the parade under a giant American flag hanging from between two Riverhead Fire Department ladder trucks.
Sheriff’s deputies and correction officers, many of whom work a short distance away at the Suffolk County jail in Riverside, waved as they passed the hospital employees, all wearing masks. Some used their vehicle’s loud speakers to say thank you. The Riverhead Police and Fire Department also had vehicles in the parade.
The Sheriff spoke briefly to the group in the garden outside the entrance. “We cannot thank you enough for being our heroes,” who have reported to work “day after day, leaving your families and treating the patients and helping their families along the way. We love you. We honor you. God bless you, and, thank you very much.”
“I guess we all know we could, and would, in some of the most trying times,” Andrew J. Mitchell, the CEO and president of Peconic Bay Medical Center, said of how everyone rose to the occasion during the pandemic. “The team work that went on between all of the different disciplines is a testament to this clinical leadership behind me,” he said looking at some of his top-level staff.
“And the inspiration came not only from our patients, but from people like the Sheriff and the community as a whole, who came out to say thank you and support us, and with that I say thank you to all of you,” Mitchell said to the crowd.
Earlier in the day, the Sheriff’s office also participated in a parade at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson.