Neighbours of nurse Jo Tighe welcome her home with signs, cheering and drumming after her shift in the emergency department of Shuswap Lake General Hospital on Thursday, March 26 to show their appreciation for all the work that she and other health-care workers do for the community during this pandemic. (Contributed)

Neighbours surprise Shuswap health-care worker with show of appreciation

Residents in subdivision greet neighbour on return from work at Salmon Arm hospital

Gratitude for a neighbour who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital melded into a parade of appreciation in a Salmon Arm neighbourhood last week.

Holly Gray and two of her neighbours in the Ridge subdivision, Prab Dhaliwal and Joanna Bickle, had heard the news about people in different cities across Canada showing their appreciation for health-care workers at 7 o’clock each evening, shift change for many, by banging pots and honking horns to recognize their work.

Gray explained that they talked about honouring their well-loved neighbour Jo Tighe, whose official title is Patient Care Coordinator of Emergency, Intensive Care Unit and Oncology at the Salmon Arm hospital.

They included Jo’s spouse Randi in their plans, deciding that when Randi picked up Jo from work on that Thursday afternoon, March 26, he would drive her slowly through the street to their home. It would be lined with neighbours in their yards, showing their appreciation for her.

“I imagine it would be pretty difficult day in and day out dealing with that and maybe tough to realize how much people appreciate it when you’re stuck in the middle of it,” Bickle said. “We wanted to let her know that we are here and that we’re thinking about her and very appreciative of everything that they’re all doing for us.”

The women emphasized that Jo is very humble and would want the appreciation to extend to all the staff.

Gray distributed poster paper for neighbourhood kids to make signs while the word was spread throughout the subdivision.

As arrival time approached, adults and children at about 12 residences were out on the streets – keeping their social distance, holding thank-you signs and ready to bang on pots and buckets.

Read more: Photos – With a crash and a bang, B.C. residents applaud health-care workers

Read more: ‘Corona Busters’ – Vernon man drives vintage ambulance in appreciation of health-care workers

Jo was both surprised and very moved.

Randi texted the organizers later to say that he didn’t drive as slowly as planned – Jo told him to speed up because she was crying so much.

“There were a few of us crying including Jo,” Gray said. “I think it made us feel as good as it made her feel appreciated. She’s a very humble person.”

Dhaliwal said Jo is definitely deserving of the recognition.

“How much she does for everyone – she is an amazing person all around so we thought that would be a very nice gesture to show her our appreciation…The whole neighbourhood loves her.”

Gray also pasted thank you signs on the door of a police officer’s residence who lives nearby so that when he came home from his shift he would see them.

“Pay it forward…,” Gray said. “One small thing can put a smile on somebody’s face and maybe get them through a hard time or a hard day.”

She emphasized that the women didn’t organize the show of appreciation for recognition.

“I think we’re all kind of looking for that little something we can do to make the day a little brighter for everybody.”



marthawickett@saobserver.net

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