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Hampton Roads communities support first responders taking on COVID-19

Suffolk residents show their appreciation to healthcare providers with a "Lights of Love" display outside Sentara Obici Hospital.

SUFFOLK, Va. — The coronavirus brings out a sense of uncertainty, and communities across Hampton Roads are expressing their appreciation to first responders and medical workers for all of their hard work.

A long line of cars, Suffolk fire engines, and sounds of recognition for Sentara medical staff were heard from the parking lot in one such display Wednesday night.

Some of the Suffolk community banded together to show their support. Suffolk restaurant owner Donna Perry started a group on Facebook and called it "Lights of Love."

“Since this has happened, it’s certainly redefined what a hero is... not only to me, but to mainly the whole country,” said Perry.

Lights of Love - Community support for front line healthcare and public safety workers

Posted by City of Suffolk, VA - Municipal Government on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Perry expressed this was their way to show appreciation for hospital workers.

“They’re the ones working overtime. They’re on the front lines providing the care, comfort for patients who actually have the virus,” explained Perry.

Sentara Obici Vice President of Operations Jessica Lowder said this type of support also helps the patients.

“All of our in-patient rooms have exterior windows, so we have a nice ring road around the hospital here so it will be good. Because our patients cannot have visitors during this time in an effort to keep them safe. This gives them a little bright spot in their day,” said Lowder.

Lowder pointed out the community’s appreciation is noticed.

“And to feel that support and to feel the love. We all may be separated by distance right now but have a greater sense of community than ever before,” said Lowder.

The support is felt across Hampton Roads. Posters on hospital walls, messages in chalk, a mermaid dedicated to first responders and if you look up at Sentara hospitals, you’ll see a thank you sign declaring: “Heroes work here.”

Perry mentions they plan to have another "Lights of Love" event for the midnight medical crew later this week.

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