Two North Simcoe residents want to ring in the New Year with a loud thank you to frontline workers.
Christine Lyons said her friend Pat Schofield hatched the noisemaker event plan and she thought it was a great idea and wanted to be involved.
The two friends, who attend Askennonia Senior Centre programs together, wanted to give a 'pat on the back' to frontline workers for all they have done throughout this year, said Lyons.
With the idea and a passion in mind, she said, the two set about trying to spread the word through their network of friends and local churches.
Lyons, who lives in Tiny Township, but attends the All Saints Anglican Church in Penetanguishene, contacted her priest, who agreed it was a good idea.
The event will begin at 4 p.m. Friday when the Peel Street church will sound its bells.
That, Lyons said, will hopefully be a signal to other churches in the vicinity to join in. As for residents, they can simply step outside their homes to make noise, such as banging pots, ringing bells or honking a horn.
The entire activity is expected to last only five minutes, she said, adding she will be doing so at a corner of Robert and Main Streets in Penetang.
"At 4:05 p.m., a friend of mine who plays bagpipes will play Auld Lang Syne out on the street in front of the church," said Lyons.
Not only is it churches and residents that are being asked to join in, she said, she also reached out to Penetang staff to request participation by any available frontline workers.
"I asked if they could indicate if the police, fire or ambulance services could sound their sirens at the same time on Robert Street and Main Street," said Lyon. "And they wrote back saying it can happen, unless they're called in for an emergency."
Even though she will be at the Penetang Main Street intersection, Lyon said, she is not asking people to gather there in large crowds. She is using that space since she lives in the neighbouring township and her church is a stone's throw away from that location, she explained.
Where Lyons was responsible for coordinating with Penetang churches, Schofield took on the task to line up Midland churches.
The latter said she sent out emails to three Midland churches: St. Margaret's Parish, St. Mark's Anglican-Lutheran Church, and St. Paul's United Church. Schofield added she did not receive confirmation from the first two churches and the last one does not have a bell.
Lyons said she hopes the event will bring positive vibes to North Simcoe communities.
"There's been so much angst and horrors that have been reported in the news," she said. "I'm hoping to share peace and hope. (And) get people thinking about helping each other and just celebrating the kind memories they may have of a previous time.
"It's also to tell people that you are important in this world. You need to be at peace. It's a reflection on peace and cooperation. It's so important to be able to say thank you and to be appreciative of what our frontline workers do for us."
Schofield agreed with her friend.
"I think we all go along following the rules of the lockdown, but I don't know we really realize how many are out there working on our behalf, just so we have the ability to stay home," she said. "They're making sure we can shop for food, go to the drug store, and so forth. I don't think most of us spend much time in our day thinking about that. So I thought it was important to do this, just to take a moment out of your day to salute those people, that's all."
Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com