In the days and weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City, thousands of New Yorkers wrote “Thank you” notes to first responders. Now, in the middle of a battle between healthcare workers and the coronavirus, the same concept is being utilized.
Not only are children in Nassau County being encouraged to send out “Thank you” notes to first responders, but they should also write them to healthcare workers, who are risking their own lives and those of family members while saving lives. While nurses are known to work incredibly long, grueling shifts, battling the coronavirus has created a new challenge to those dedicated to saving others.
That’s what prompted Nassau County Legislator John R. Ferretti Jr. (R—Levittown) to create the Letters to Our Heroes campaign last week.
“Parents are working from home and kids are home from school,” Ferretti said outside of his Levittown home. “While many of us are home, my family included, our first responders—police officers, firemen, EMS and paramedics, along with our doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers—are out on the front lines 24/7. They are working to contain this outbreak and keep our community safe.”
For the first week of the program, Ferretti’s office received letters and drawings from children throughout the county via email and in the physical mail. The ones sent through the mail will be quarantined for a week prior to being delivered to local precincts, fire houses and other healthcare facilities. The letters will be delivered in the coming days and weeks as the battle against the coronavirus continues.
Ferretti’s two children, 3-year-old Natalie, and 7-year-old Johnny, each kicked off the campaign by drawing thank you notes of their own. Natalie’s note read, “keep working” and “thank you,” featuring plenty of stars, a rainbow, an ambulance and a police station, while Johnny colored in the words “thank you” on his.
“Our community has time and time again shown our ability to come together in times of crisis and this outbreak is no exception,” Ferretti said. “I urge everyone to take just a few minutes to email or send a letter to be delivered to our community’s heroes in the coming weeks.”
By Ferretti’s side—standing six feet away—was Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott, who said this campaign is truly important for his officers. Not only does Letters to Our Heroes show first responders that they have the support of the community, but it also shows they are not alone in this fight as people of all ages are coming together for the same cause.
“Our officers are oftentimes the tip of the spear when it comes to working with residents who have contracted COVID-19,” McDermott said. “I want to thank Legislator Ferretti for putting together Letters to Our Heroes to boost officer morale and allow the community to show their appreciation for all that our officers do to keep residents safe and healthy.”
Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell echoed McDermott’s sentiment. O’Connell, who is a registered nurse, explained why it is so important to thank healthcare workers as they face a battle unlike any other.
“As a registered nurse, I know exactly what it’s like to be on the front lines working with doctors, families and patients in moments of crisis,” she said. “I am proud to stand with Legislator Ferretti to thank our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and first responders working around the clock to keep our community safe and healthy. These letters will go a long way towards sending our appreciation for all they do.”
Residents can continue to send letters to first responders and healthcare workers to firstname.lastname@example.org through Friday, April 10.