The seven-week mark of the COVID-19 pandemic was a time to hit pause.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, nurses, doctors, and hospital staff walked out of Gettysburg Hospital. They took a breath of fresh air, lined the sidewalks and began clapping as about 30 emergency vehicles drove through the parking lot, beeped their horns and expressed appreciation for those who have been working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very nice, we really appreciate everyone coming out for us,” Leah Crum, hospital transporter, said.

Crum and her supervisor, Ashley Sanders, said their work experience has changed the past couple of weeks but the hospital administration has helped make the changes as comfortable as possible. Since there has not been as much of a demand for transport, they and their colleagues have occasionally been reassigned to other areas of the hospital.

“Even before this, we were close, but having to adjust together has definitely made us closer,” Sanders said.

Many members of the community also came out to show their support for hospital workers. Melissa Knouse of Arendtsville brought her 4-year-old twins, Brady and Lilly.

“We tell the kids that there are a lot of germs in the world and first responders and hospital workers help people try to feel better,” Knouse said. “It’s hard for 4-year-olds to grasp, but we do what we can.”

Brady and Lilly also got the chance to see their grandfather, Tom Arthur, ride on a firetruck. Arthur has been a member of the Gettysburg Fire Department for more than 40 years, Knouse said.

When the parade ended, medical helicopters from StatMedevac and Lifenet flew over the hospital.

Gettysburg Hospital President Jane Hyde said she was “somewhat speechless.”

“I am overwhelmed that I get to live in a community that comes together like this,” Hyde said. “I believe this has really renewed our spirit.”

Gettysburg Fire Department Deputy Chief Ed Mizenko and Bendersville Fire Department Assistant Chief Jason Cook organized the event. For Cook, it was a collision of his two worlds. The volunteer firefighter is also a security supervisor at Gettysburg Hospital.

“It is overwhelming,” Cook said. “I really believe it worked out well and we got to show the hospital staff how much we appreciate all of their work.”

The hospital staff was also treated to a free lunch provided by Biggerstaff’s Catering. Other donors were: US Food, Biggerstaff’s Catering, Yards Cards by Renee, Deja Brew Coffee and Bakery, Gettysburg Campground and Bendersville Mayor Mike Riley.

“I was just happy to be able to give back,” Stacey Green, owner of Biggerstaff’s Catering said.

First responders who participated in the parade came from Alpha Fire of Littlestown, Gettysburg Fire Department, United Hook and Ladder, Barlow Fire Department, Bendersville Community Fire Department, Biglerville Hose and Truck Co. #1, Arendtsville Community Fire Department, Fountaindale Community Fire Company, Cashtown Community Fire Department, York Springs Fire Department, Heidlersburg Fire Company, Fairfield Fire and EMS, Adams Regional Emergency Medical Service, Northeast Adams Fire and EMS, Gettysburg Police Department, Cumberland Township Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Abbottstown Borough, ESP/Low-E Insulation, and Gettysburg National Military Park.

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