A candlelight vigil was held at Southwest Memorial Hospital Wednesday to show gratitude for health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
About 30 people attended the vigil, organized by Jean Schwein, a pastor for First United Methodist Church in Cortez.
Health care workers deserve more community support and recognition, she said at the event on Thanksgiving Eve.
“They are stressed to the limit, and we want them to know we appreciate them and understand what they are going through,” she said.
The candlelight vigil will take place in front of the hospita every Wednesday at 5 p.m. through the holiday season.
Everyone in the community is encouraged to attend to show support. Bring a candle, or one will be available. Organizers ask that people wear a mask and practice social distancing from people you don’t live with.
During the pandemic in March and April, communities nationwide displayed lots of support for health care workers. Restaurants delivered free meals, and neighborhoods banged pots and pans at set times.
“That show of support dropped off, and now they are dealing with a lot more COVID cases,” Schwein said. “We are here to wrap this building and all the people in it with prayers, and surround it with strength and love.”
People called out names of nurses, doctors and staff. Songs were sung, and prayers were sent out. Vigil marchers walked around the building to the Emergency Entrance as hospital staff waved from windows and came out to say thank you.
“They do so much for our community, it is good to show some gratitude,” said Mary Feldbruegge. “In tough times, taking positive action makes a difference.”
Manny Valdez, who is moving to Cortez from Texas, agreed.
“I’m here to show support for health care workers. They are showing incredible bravery fighting this tricky new disease that has a lot of unknowns,” he said. “I’d like to say thank you to them. They get up every day to do a job most of us could not do, and at great risk to themselves.”
For those who want to donate a meal to hospital workers, only restaurant food in takeout containers will be accepted, organizers said.