PITTSFIELD, Maine — For hospital workers, 7:30 a.m. is a significant time of day. For nurses, doctors, or anyone working 12-hour shifts, that time of day means its time for work or time to go home.
Before the new wave of employees at Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield began their shift Thursday morning, and before those leaving went to bed, they were treated to a surprise.
The sounds of fire trucks and police cars echoed the hospital grounds as six different fire departments and the Pittsfield Police department honored their local health care workers and fellow neighbors.
“These are people we know, not just from our profession but they’re our neighbors and our friends," hospital president Terri Vieira said. "We’re a family that comes together in the good times and the difficult times.”
Community is everything in small towns in Maine and its no different in the Pittsfield area. Down the road in Newport, Fire Chief Jeff Chretien called the celebration, "emotional."
“It’s the best community in the world, we’re a tight-knit community everybody would drop everything to help anybody around here," Chretien added.
The first responders came to say thanks, and in typical health care worker style, they returned the gratitude.
“We were there to thank them, and they were there clapping at us, it was kind of an emotional day," Chretien added.
Back at the hospital, Vieira said this moment of surprise and recognition came at a perfect time.
“There are people struggling right now, in a lot of ways and all this help is coming at a perfect time and it is the help that will not be forgotten, I think ever," she added.
The drive-by waves and thank yous are not all that the community is doing for its health care workers. Hartly's dealership in Newport is offering free maintenance packages for those hospital workers.
“How could we give back to those people just to help them out," Adam Friend, the General Manager said. "We said hey we’ll give you an oil change, tire rotation, we’ll go pick it up for them if they want to.”
To Friend, this wasn't an act made to be recognized, he did it to help out his "family."
“It’s all about family and community and everything around here more so and that’s what you get in the small towns in Maine," Friend added.