On the west side of the Grand River, just down the hill from Spectrum Health‘s downtown hospitals, flags wave from the balconies of the tallest building in Grand Rapids.
Rob VanSuilichem and his wife, Chari, stand on their balcony, decked out in stars and stripes. They have made signs thanking the health care workers on the job less than a mile away from the River House condominiums.
“We’re thinking about our first responders, our hospital workers and how they are saving lives and working the front lines every day and all the essential workers that are out there,” VanSuilichem said.
Every day at 5:30 p.m., 50-60 residents put on their patriotic best and wave American flags from their balconies to recognize all the workers who are keeping the country going.
“We just want to show our appreciation and let them know we are thinking about them, we care and we’re praying for them,” VanSuilichem said. “We hope they continue to stay safe and continue to do good for our country and for our citizens.”
Neighborhoods everywhere are looking for ways to show support to health care workers who are hard at work caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the balconies are decorated with handcrafted signs as residents wave full-sized American flags.
“Everybody is on lockdown right now and these are uncertain times,” VanSuilichem said. “Health care professionals are out there putting their lives on the line. We just want them to know that every day they are loved and respected.”
Many of the condominium residents see the daily show of support as a way to get together without being by each other.
“I have a niece that works at the hospital. It’s scary for her and scary for everybody,” VanSuilichem said. “Those people who are on the front line deserve our gratitude so we are here to give it.”