Semiahmoo Peninsula residents found two different ways to say ‘thank you’ to Peace Arch Hospital health-care workers last week, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday evening (April 30), students and families from St. John Paul II Academy – which currently operates out of Star of the Sea Hall – decided to co-ordinate a drive-by parade of sorts, that began at the school’s Pacific Avenue location and proceeded to Peace Arch Hospital, where a ‘thank-you’ celebration with balloons, noise-makers and doughnuts for staff was held.
The event was meant to serve as an extension of the usual 7 p.m. noise-making celebrations for frontline workers that has been happening nightly across the province and beyond.
“While the students at St. John Paul II Academy are working hard on their online schooling, they wanted to show their appreciation to all the staff, nurses and doctors at Peace Arch Hospital,” said Linda Prout, one of the event organizers and a St. John Paul II Academy ambassador.
Two days later, on Saturday, another group of local residents joined together to say thank-you to PAH employees, surprising them with hanging flower baskets at the end of their shifts.
That endeavour was the brainchild of local resident Tony Toxopeus and a group of friends, who came up with the idea a little over a week ago and, before they knew it, had enough donations from individual donors as well as from local businesses – KDS Construction, Vanderveen Hay Sales, Turkey House and Deli, Ocean Park Ford and Penguin Meats – that they were able to purchase more than 300 baskets.
In co-ordination with the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, flower distribution was held in a hospital courtyard – with strict social-distancing rules in place, Toxopeus noted. Staff simply showed their hospital employee ID, and then helped themselves to a basket.
Toxopeus, a retired Coast Guard captain, and his friends “wanted to find a way to lighten the spirits of hospital staff.”
“The majority of us had children born in Peace Arch Hospital, had been stitched, X-rayed and generally put back together there at one time or another, so we wanted to show them our appreciation,” Toxopeus said by email.