Amazing display of community

Published 10:07 pm Friday, April 10, 2020

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The sights and sounds in the parking lot at Sentara Obici Hospital on Wednesday evening were awe-inspiring.

In an effort organized by Suffolk restaurateur Donna Perry, dozens of people inside dozens of vehicles lit up the night with their headlights, the lights on their fire trucks and tow trucks and police cars, light-up toys and gadgets and even a sparkler or two. A Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue ladder truck even extended its ladder to put some lights in the air, and a drone or two flew overhead to catch the whole scene.

They also sounded the horns and the sirens in a show of support that could be heard even in nearby neighborhoods. The shouts from participants weren’t heard as far away but were nevertheless heartfelt.

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So were the sights or the sounds more impressive? You can view the video on our Facebook page if you want to decide for yourself, but we say “neither.”

To be sure, the display that could be seen by the eyes and heard by the ears was breathtaking. But what was most awe-inspiring and emotional about the event was the way so many people came together — while keeping their distance — to show love to a bunch of people they don’t even know.

The love came from across a parking lot and in a mini-parade that went past a group of hospital employees assembled outside of the hospital. But we think those hospital workers probably felt the love as truly as if it had been in the form of hugs, handshakes and gratitude offered up close.

Some of the participants said they came out to the event because they have friends or family members who work at Sentara Obici Hospital. But many of them came out just to show support to a group of people they knew needed support.

Jessica Lowder, vice president of operations for Sentara Obici Hospital, said all of the support from the community — Wednesday’s event as well as a MealTrain for staff, donations of personal protective equipment, and more — has been humbling.

That’s what community is all about, and we couldn’t be prouder to have a front-row seat to all of these amazing displays of community.