Battle Creek neighborhood thanks essential workers

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Calhoun County neighborhood is showing its thanks to the medical staff at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital and other essential workers.

Messages of appreciation are displayed on folding construction zone markers, windows and in front yards.

Beatrice Orns, one of the organizers of the tribute, says the display is the least she can do to show her support.

“I’ve lived here for 17 years and for as long as I’ve been here, whenever there’s a call or an action that is needed, the neighbors have always stepped up to do those things,” Orns said.

The Woolnough neighborhood signs thank many essential workers, from police officers to grocery store workers.

“We love you for doing the work that you do and for continuing this fight to save lives and to keep everybody safe. And to feed people and to make sure there is some calm in the midst of all this chaos,” Orns said.

Orns and her daughters, along with several neighbors, started putting up the signs on Tuesday.

“I see the health care workers walking during their lunch break,” she said. “They walk up and down our street. They walk down Fremont, they walk down Woolnough, and so this is just as much their neighborhood as it is ours. Because of that, as a community, it’s important for us to support one another.”

A long-time neighborhood leader that residents call their “mayor” came up with the idea to place signs on folding road construction markers right near the hospital.

“Another way that I can show that support is by putting a sign in the window saying, ‘You know what? I love you, I’m thinking about you. Even though I’m not in the trenches with you at this time,’” Orns said.

The signs are a welcomed project for Kandis Orns, one of Beatrice Orns’ daughters, who is also at home.

“I truly love being outside and knowing I’m helping somebody else while I’m doing something that I love, it makes it just even better,” Kandis Orns said.

The project is a small gesture the family hopes will make a lasting impact.

“I’m not looking for a thank you. I just want to thank them because they are the ones that are truly out here grinding and working hard on our (behalf),” Orns said.

Organizers hope other communities will be inspired to find ways to honor essential workers in their communities.