AKRON, Ohio — What at first glance looked like a car show, grew into a huge outpouring of support for first responders, hospital workers and patients.
The parade drove past three major downtown hospitals including Akron General, Summa Health System and Akron Children’s.
“I’m a retired firefighter and I know what it’s like to not have support," says, organizer John Deutchman.
He enlisted the help of Max Sprague with Ohio Car Shows and Cruise Inc. In just one week, Sprague was able to reach and organize the dozens of car owners who participated.
He felt this was important because a year ago he spent time in a nursing home.
“It was so lonely even when people could come,” explains Sprague. “I couldn’t imagine being locked in the hospital without your family or without your friends. So hopefully we can just give them a little cheer as we go by.”
With lights and sirens on, first responders from various law enforcement agencies and fire departments led the way.
“With all the stress that’s going on in our lives as first responders, I think some support internally and externally is really great for us and we really appreciate it and I just think it’s great,” says Jerry Klue,Akron Children’s Hospital Police Chief.
Some participants decorated their cars and also held signs while waving at hospital workers and parade watchers.
“It’s going to make me cry because just all the people getting together when all the bad stuff’s going on, it’s a good thing today,” says Parade Participant Diane Bratton.