By Kathryn Stocks
A lively community car parade held on Friday, May 1 for the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care took place on the same day employees at the home were reeling from what they thought was their first case of COVID-19.
The CCRA had just started its fundraiser to help the long-term care home through this difficult time. The parade was meant to galvanize support for the campaign and buoy the spirits of the Stacey Centre’s front-line workers.
They were definitely in need of a lift at that moment and the Centennial community came through for them. About 100 cars, trucks and vintage vehicles decorated with balloons, streamers and hand-painted signs lined up on Meadowvale Rd. south of Lawson Rd. on that sunny Friday afternoon. At 2 p.m., police cruisers with sirens blaring led the procession along Lawson and around the Stacey Centre’s driveway.
The parade was greeted by about three dozen staff members lined up at the entrance. It was impossible to see their smiles behind the masks, but their eyes and outstretched arms showed how deeply they appreciated the support.
“It was emotional,” said Lori Gagnon, the lead organizer of the CCRA’s fundraiser. “I did not expect to see that many employees outside.”
CCRA executive member Denise Bacon called it “an epic event for both the Tony Stacey staff and the Centennial community.”
CCRA President Kathy Rowe thought the show of support was overwhelmingly successful and incredibly well attended. “It brought the community together for a single cause,” she said. “I loved being a part of it.”
At the Stacey Centre, Executive Director Melissa Elliott said her staff had smiles on their faces all weekend. The fact that the parade happened the same day they thought they had COVID-19 in the home “gave us encouragement to keep going,” she said. “The timing couldn’t have been better.”
On Monday, May 4, Melissa learned that the resident with the positive test result the day of the parade had been retested and the swab results came back negative. All staff members were tested as well and all came back negative. “You have no idea how relieved we are,” she said.