Brian Center Parade

The Corona Times – May 26, 2020

by Juliana Walker, Mitchell News-Journal

This post is courtesy of the Mitchell News-Journal.

Photo of a Brian Center resident watching the parade

Brian Center Activities Director Debbie Finley, left, and resident Mary Jarvis wave at cars passing by Thursday, May 14, during a drive-thru parade.

Residents and nurses at the Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation Center in Spruce Pine were showered with support Thursday, May 14, during a drive-thru parade.

Nurses and employees at the nursing home brought residents outside in wheelchairs and sat them six feet apart to enjoy the festivities.

Family members and friends in vehicles, some with posters and balloons, circled the parking lot and honked, cheered and waved to residents and staff.

Law enforcement joined the effort, as well. Sheriff’s deputies, police and firefighters flashed lights and sounded sirens in support.

“In times like this, we have to find the positive and a way to love each other, and that was represented here,” said Heather Steuer, director of care transitions at the Brian Center. “For residents to get to be outside, to get the love of their family and the love of their community, it was just huge.”

Steuer said the parade, which lasted nearly 30 minutes and drew a crowd of several dozen vehicles, was a stunning success.

“We were just totally overwhelmed,” she said. “I don’t think there were any of us that had a dry eye.”

While the parade was not an original idea, after many employees at the Brian Center saw other nursing homes had similar parades on social media, Steuer said they decided to plan their own.

“We knew this week was National Nursing Home Week, so we thought it was the perfect time to celebrate,” she said.

Residents Masona Buchanan and Katrina Cook usually teach Sunday School at the Brian Center weekly. After the CDC prohibited people from visiting nursing homes two months ago, however, they have
been unable to meet with residents.

“We have not been able to see them, and it breaks our hearts and breaks their hearts,” Buchanan said, holding back tears.

When they heard about the parade, Buchanan said she and Cook felt they had a duty to take part. The two decorated their car with balloons, a large teddy bear and a poster that read, “We miss and love you.”

“We just had to,” Buchanan said. “We just love them so much and miss them so much.”

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About the Numbers

You will note a series of numbers contained in the blog. They document the spread of virus through confirmed cases by the federal Centers for Disease Control and by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These are the official totals provided by state and local government at the date of the post and do not include estimates or cases not confirmed by these agencies. This is our effort to provide an accurate gauge of confirmed virus spread as it continues during the pandemic.

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