“We miss you.”

“Stay safe.”

“Thank you for what you do.”

With messages like these a long line of vehicles drove through Redwood Falls this past Friday afternoon (May 8) as part of the “Drive By for Joy” event.

The parade of cars, trucks and other modes of transportation passed by Wood Dale, Garnette Gardens and River Valley Health and Rehab Center honking their horns and showing their support for loved ones, friends and others many have not been able to see in person for some time.

The drive by event offered encouragement for those who are sheltered inside of local senior care facilities – one more example of the way the public has been demonstrating its care for this part of the community.

According to Natalie Seehausen of Vista Prairie at Garnette Gardens, the show of support from families whose loved ones are socially distancing themselves from the outside world has been “amazingly positive.” 

“We have received many cards of thanks, e-mails showing appreciation for our dedication to keeping their family member safe and an outpouring of support on our social media sites,” added Seehausen.

Becky Jenniges of River Valley Health and Rehab Center echoed that.

“Families have also been wonderful in regards to having to implement the no visitor rule at this time,” explained Jenniges.

Now visits are being done online, via phones or through the windows, Jenniges added.

Local senior care facilities continue to look for guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ultimate goal continues to be to keep residents and staff safe and healthy.

Seehausen and Jenniges expressed their appreciation for the overwhelming community support that has been demonstrated.

According to Jenniges, there have been community members who have made homemade masks for members of the staff.

“We truly appreciate everyone who has done this for us,” added Jenniges.

Seehausen also recognized those who have been donating masks.

According to Seehausen, having these donations has been crucial to the success of their enhanced infection control processes.

“We also have had several people volunteer to do personal shopping for our residents who are not able to go out and get their basic necessities,” Seehausen added.

Until the day when family, friends and the community are able to walk through the doors of those local facilities, whenever that might be and however it looks, the community can know the residents are being well cared for and are enjoying whatever activities they are able to do separately.

As one of the signs indicated, the community is all in this together.