Now that the holidays are over, those sparkling little lights you put all over your house, around your mailbox and on trees and bushes in your front yard may be just the thing that warms some hearts during the bleakest month of the new year.
HCA Virginia is launching a campaign called "Keep Your Lights Up for Healthcare Heroes," encouraging folks everywhere to keep their holiday lights up through Jan. 31 to show support for local healthcare workers who've been on the front lines battling COVID-19 for more than nine months.
Participants are encouraged to share photos and support through social media, using the hashtag #LightsUp4Heroes and tagging their local healthcare facility, including hospitals, doctors' offices and more.
"Our folks are tired - they see (COVID-19) every day, up close and personal," said Jeff Caldwell, assistant vice president for HCA Healthcare Capital Division. He said the idea came about a few weeks as a way to lift the spirits of those in the healthcare field. In the spring, at the beginning of the pandemic, the national outpouring was tremendous, he said, everything from providing meals to healthcare workers to passersby waving and honking in support of medical facilities.
But that support "has died down, just because everybody's exhausted," Caldwell said. Leaving up lights - and simply thanking those who work in the healthcare profession - is an easy way to help.
Caldwell said the lights campaign is a national one that's starting to gain traction.
"We're hoping we can get a lot of participation here in Richmond," he said. Particularly for healthcare workers who have night shifts, the lights are a visible way to show that others are thinking about them.
"Anyone who is working [COVID-19]," he said, "needs to get a little support from their neighbors."