Tuesday, April 14, 2020

First Responders Salute Pottstown Hospital Staff

Sirens blasting, 25 emergency vehicles paraded down East High Street to Pottstown Hospital Monday night to offer their full-throated support of the front-line medical workers battling coronavirus.

Photos and video by Evan Brandt
Emergency responders line up in front of Pottstown Hospital 
to salute the front-line medial workers there putting 
their lives on the line to fight coronavirus.
The idea was the brainchild of state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-146th Dist.

"My sister is an RN in New York and she sent us a video of all the churches ringing their bells in support of the medical workers, and then the next day, all the fire trucks came by with their sirens sounding and I thought 'that's pretty cool. We should do something like that here,'" Ciresi said Monday evening.

The Pottstown Fire Department and EMS worker picked up the idea and ran with it.

Their participation was organized by Chad Quinter, chief of the Phillies Fire Company.

Medical workers in the window looking out on the parking lot 
at Pottstown Hospital wave back at the emergency responders 
applauding them Monday as part of an organized salute.
Pottstown Fire Chief Frank Hand said the 25 vehicles that participated got together at the Goodwill Fire Station on High Street.

They then made their way down High Street to the hospital, sirens blaring and lights flashing.

"Limerick was supposed to be here too, but they had a fire," said Hand, as a Goodwill Ambulance took off from the hospital parking lot. "They have a call too," Hand said.

"We're so impressed with how the hospital staff is bearing up under this threat," said Hand. "It really shows the strength and backbone of this community."

A mask-wearing Rich Newell, CEO of Pottstown Hospital couldn't agree more.

Hospital staff gather at the entrance to Pottstown Hospital
to watch the emergency vehicle parade in their honor, all 
while maintaining social distancing from them, naturally.
"The staff has been so dedicated through all of this. We haven't seen a large number of call-outs or no-shows," said Newell.

"And the show of appreciation from the community has been absolutely tremendous," he said.

Newell said the show of support by the first responders means a lot to the staff.

"I haven't seen anything like this before, except on the Fourth of July," he joked.

First responders from the Pottstown area applaud the staff
at Pottstown Hospital Monday evening.
"This just takes my breath away, said Skye Tulio, marketing coordinator for the hospital who was out taking pictures and shooting video.

"I know it must have made their night," she said of the employees. "We're so grateful for the support from the community. This is incredible. We all really appreciate this."

"You know, outside of Philadelphia, Montgomery County is being hit about the hardest in all of Pennsylvania," said Ciresi.

Emergency vehicles lined up in front of Pottstown Hospital.
Just hours before the first responders gathered to being their parade, Montgomery County Commissioners Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh reported 25 more people died in the county over the weekend from COVID-19, bringing the county’s death toll to 91.

Officials also reported 208 new positive cases of the virus in the county since Saturday, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 2,023 since March 7.
For Ciresi, who lost his brother several months ago to cancer, this show of support is personal.

"I talk to my sister every night, and she'll tell me about the people they lost that day. I'm worried about her. Her boyfriend has terminal cancer, so he can't stay with her and she comes home every night and she's alone," Ciresi said.
This sign has been erected outside Pottstown Hospital.

"It's taking its toll on her mentally and emotionally, I can tell."

"And my niece is a nurse's assistant in Port Jefferson and she is on the front line too," Ciresi said. "Now she has a cough now and a fever."

"Everyone needs to know these people put their lives on the line every time they walk into that hospital," Ciresi said.

"As well as the police officers and EMS workers. They never know what they're going to find when they answer a call," Ciresi said.

"And even the kids working in the grocery stores are at risk. They don't know who is walking in there," Ciresi said.


  1. Great story, Evan! Well-written, and loved the video.

  2. Thanks Joe. On video, sound is everything most of the time.