Corridor of Thanks
Jim and Betty Henderschedt, formerly of Allentown, now independent living residents of Fellowship Community, Whitehall, have been leading an 8 p.m. nightly tribute to the Fellowship staff since March 22.
Residents clap their hands in appreciation of health care workers on the front line.
Jim, a retired Lutheran minister, and Betty, a retired nurse, took the recognition one step further May 12. They organized a Corridor of Thanks event along the pavement that workers use to go to their parking lot. They recruited a number of residents in the independent living facilities to join in and thank the workers.
As the daytime staff members finished their shift and the evening-shift workers arrived for work, the staff was serenaded with clapping hands and thank-yous for their important, valued work caring for and meeting the needs of residents. It was a heartfelt demonstration of appreciation that was valued by the staff.
Eric Debus, an evening-shift floor tech, said he feels good in general and is thankful for the efforts of Fellowship leaders providing personal protective equipment and support.
Debus noted, “It was stressful in the beginning.”
Reports are the staff and residents have adapted to the new reality. He is thankful for the effort of the independent living residents.
“Having all these older folks outside on a cool, windy day to thank us means a lot,” Debus said.
Fellowship Community President and CEO Mary Kay McMahon was on hand to express her thanks to her staff as well. McMahon relayed, in efforts to keep up morale, Fellowship has provided free meals and snacks to staff and gifts during National Nurses Week, which was held May 6-12. She provides weekly video updates and other forums to keep staff up to date on new information.
McMahon acknowledged this has been a very difficult time for both staff and residents.
The independent living residents, according to McMahon, “have made cloth masks and reusable gowns for other residents. I can’t thank them enough.”
Regarding increased activities in the facility, McMahon noted, “We increased but had to change activities to accommodate social distancing. The residents are fantastic. They understand the situation and have cooperated the best they can.”
An evening-shift worker named Diane, who works in the COVID-19 unit, drove by and stopped her car to thank McMahon and Betty.
In response to the Corridor of Thanks, Diane said, from inside her car, “This is so nice. I am so thankful. It makes me cry.”