Tractors took over the roadway around Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead on Tuesday evening in a salute to those working on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
About 60 tractors passed in front of the hospital’s entrance, which was lined with health care workers and support staff waving and cheering as farmers and their families showed their gratitude. Some of the farmers, most of whom are from the North Fork, displayed signs from their rides like, “Paumanok [Vineyards] loves PBMC” and “Stay Safe!” from Schmitt Farms.
“We have a longstanding history with Peconic Bay Medical Center, going back to its founding in the 1950s,” said Robert Carpenter, the administrative director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, which organized what he called a tractor “drive-by.” With the help of the Long Island Antique Power Tractor Association, the farm bureau was able get those with older, restored tractors to take part in the 20-minute parade, too.
Carpenter said in his opinion, farmers are heroes as well.
“They feed us everyday,” Carpenter said prior to the event kickoff. “This is a great opportunity for one group of heroes to salute another group of heroes. It was a natural fit between the two groups, and we’re really happy to do this. All of these people around us are doing such a great job.”