As front lines workers continue to battle a silent virus outbreak, the voices of a community wanting to express their appreciation and support spoke in an untraditional way.
Tailored for an era of social distancing, voices from community members came in the form of about 4,000 cards and letters from thousands of participants, including children as young as 2 years old and seniors who are in their 80s.
Over the past couple of weeks, the letters were delivered to doctors, nurses, firefighters, police and correctional officers in Nassau County. The last batch of letters were delivered to first responders at the Levittown Fire Department on Saturday.
“These letters go such a long way in boosting the morale of our members,” said Michael Herold, first deputy chief of the fire department Saturday, holding some in his hands as he spoke to reporters. “They see they are being appreciated. This is a very difficult time for them also and for the community.”
Saturday’s drop-off event marked an end to the letter-writing campaign that a group of Nassau County lawmakers started a month ago. Legis. John Ferretti Jr. (R-Levittown), who spearheaded the "Letters to Our Heroes" initiative, announced the campaign on March 30.
Since the announcement, letters started to pour in from across Long Island, New York City and neighboring states like New Jersey and Connecticut. The paper letters were quarantined for one week before they were delivered.
The messages ranged from children drawing pictures of firehouses or police officers to adults writing multiple-page letters, Ferretti said. Many included appreciative writings like “You are doing a great job” or “Thank you for keeping our community safe.”
“It really meant so much to them,” Ferretti said in a phone interview. “Our health care workers and first responders, they are on the front lines every day. They are tired. They’ve been working around the clock to protect us. I thought it was really a great showing of community.”