Employees of Eastholme Home for the Aged in Powassan will see first hand later this month how much the community appreciates their efforts in taking care of the residents during COVID-19. The outline of a huge heart is being traced around the building and on July 15 at least 150 residents will stand on the outline to form a human, heart-shaped chain as a way to say thank you to the staff. “It's a tribute to the workers at Eastholme who have worked so diligently during COVID,” said Kathie Hogan, the events coordinator at 250 Clark. “Many of the residents have been sequestered at Eastholme for well over a year with little interaction with anyone other than the staff. So what we're doing is to recognize the staff and also what the Eastholme residents have experienced. They've endured a lot.” Hogan says the participants will be six feet apart to maintain social distancing. The Heart to Heart was originally planned for Valentine's Day but Hogan says the last lockdown order nixed those plans. However, Powassan Drug Mart is pulling out its Valentine's Day cards this week for people who want to show their appreciation toward staff or residents. Hogan says a decorated mailbox will be outside Eastholme where the cards can be dropped off. The cards don't have to be signed unless you have a particular person in mind at Eastholme who you want to see get a card. “All the cards will get delivered to the staff and residents,” Hogan said. Although the cards are available for purchase, people can also make their own cards. And staying with the Valentine's Day theme, Hogan says participants are asked to wear a red shirt if possible. Joining the crowd of 150 will be Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. “Imagine seeing all those wonderful faces out front when the residents and staff are looking out the windows,” Hogan said. Eastholme is on Big Bend Avenue which is a narrow street. With that in mind, and in an effort to avoid traffic problems, Hogan says participants are asked to park their vehicles downtown and make the short walk to Eastholme. Public Works will be on site as will volunteers from the Powassan Fire Department to help with the volume of people expected. The Eastholme building takes up a relatively large footprint and Hogan will be using a ball diamond chalk machine to trace the heart outline around the entire facility from front to back. Residents are asked to be on site by 9:45 a.m. on July 15 so they can begin forming the outline for 10 a.m. Hogan says a bagpiper will also be present as part of the ceremony. The human-shaped chain will only be up for about five minutes and then the crowd can disband. To give the public a bird's eye view of what the event will look like, Hogan says a drone will record the event with the video then posted on the municipality's website.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget