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City of Plains puts on parade in honor of local nursing home residents

PLAINS, GA – The COVID-19 pandemic has not only wreaked havoc across Georgia in the amount of lives lost and lively hoods lost. It has also taken its toll on families as numerous patients and residents in hospitals and nursing homes across the state have been separated from their loved ones due to the fact that family members cannot visit their loved ones in person due to the necessary quarantine procedures that hospitals and nursing homes have to employ in order to protect their patients and residents from contracting COVID-19.

However, on Friday afternoon, May 8, the city of Plains and the staff at the Lillian Carter Nursing Center decided to do something special for the residents of the nursing home. They held a parade in honor of those residents. In that parade, several relatives could be seen proceeding down Hospital Street past the nursing center sending words of love and encouragement and posting signs of love on their car doors.

Families drive by the Lillian Carter Nursing Center in a parade with signs along their car doors showing love and encouragement to their loved ones who are residents at the center.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

As the cars past by the center, the residents could be seen sitting outside in lawn chairs and some were brought outside still in their beds. These residents were able to see their loved ones drive by and they were able to hear their loved ones shout words of love. They were also able to see these same messages of love and encouragement on the car doors as family members and friends drove by.

In addition to family members and friends driving by to show their love and encouragement, several Sumter County police officers, firefighters and other first responders drove by to show their love and support as well.

“We are having a Drive-By Hello parade for our residents here at Lillian Carter,” said Ashley Teal, Business Office Manager for the nursing center. “Due to COVID-19, we have not been able to have visitors for a little over a month and so we just wanted to do something special for the residents and their families. We’ve invited all of our family members to drive by and also opened it to the community as well. We’re just hoping to have a good turnout for an uplifting, fun event.”

Firefighters, along with police and other first responders, show their love and support to the residents of the Lillian Carter Nursing Center, who are sitting outside watching the parade.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The parade began at 2 p.m. with numerous vehicles driving down Hospital Street from the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site to Highway 280. As the vehicles drove past the nursing center, grandchildren waived at and shouted words of love towards their grandparents. Sons and daughters showed love towards their parents and other relatives did the same to their loved ones at the center who got to go outside to see them and enjoy the beautiful spring air.

It was an extremely uplifting day for all of the residents, including Deborah Salucci, the Resident Council President, who has been a resident at Lillian Carter for nearly five years. “Oh I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s wonderful and I know especially now because they haven’t been able to come and see their families,” said Salucci. “I know it did a world of good.” Salucci’s family lives in Albany and they were able to make it up to Plains and drove through the parade so that she could see them.

A family member drives by the Lillian Carter Nursing Center with a sign on the car door expressing loving support for their mother, who is a resident at the center.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

“They came through the parade and they had signs and stuff and they were all yelling and hanging out the window,” said Salucci.

Amidst this extremely difficult time when families are separated from their loved ones, this was a beautiful example of being able to make it possible for these residents to see their loved ones. Hopefully, as the pandemic subsides, these residents at the Lillian Carter Nursing Center, as well as those at nursing homes across America, will be able to see their families more frequently.