Tuesday, April 28, brought blue skies, sunshine and the perfect weather for a parade. Although it wasn’t a typical procession, the special occasion was a heart-warming blend of unity and encouragement among front-line workers and the community they serve.

At Keystone Villa at Fleetwood, residents and staff lined the front entrance, while maintaining safe social distancing, to give a surprise greeting to Northern Berks Emergency Medical Services.

The first responders planned to drive their emergency vehicles through the parking lot that afternoon in a show of support to Keystone Villa staff and their tremendous efforts keeping residents safe.

Instead, their efforts were reciprocated with applause, noisemakers and colorful handmade signs with messages like "Keep up the Good Work;" "Northern Strong;" "Hero" and "Thank You."

“Over the past few weeks, the morale of our staff has been shaken by this pandemic. The surprise we received was unwarranted but put smiles and some tears on the faces of everyone. We are blessed to have such a great working relationship with them,” said Stephen J. Bobella Jr., executive director of Northern Berks Emergency Medical Services.

Some residents remained inside, but cheered and waved from their apartment windows.

“As much as Northern Berks EMS appreciates us, we appreciate them, and this was the opportune time to extend our gratitude,” said Kara Dobson, executive director of Keystone Villa at Fleetwood. “Our residents enjoyed creating signs and honoring our hometown heroes.”

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