New Jersey holiday caravan salutes local healthcare heroes

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A holiday caravan paid tribute to healthcare workers in New Jersey on Tuesday.

East Orange City Council and the Department of Public Safety held a caravan to salute the healthcare workers of East Orange General Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

The caravan assembled at the city's police headquarters located on Munn Avenue at 11:45 a.m.

"They jumped in from day one with us, it's been a fantastic team," police chief Phyllis Bindi said.

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"This year, we saw just how brave, courageous and committed our health professionals are as they stood on the frontlines to help stop the spread of the coronavirus," East Orange Mayor Ted Green said. "They have saved countless lives in the City of East Orange and restored the health of those who were hit the hardest by the virus."

The mayor, who had COVID, says the caravan is just a small token of the city's appreciation and their way of saying "thank you" to all the local healthcare heroes this holiday season.

"I had COVID, I was here for five days and saw how they took care of the patients," Green said.

There was mutual admiration on both sides of this gesture and a call for the community to keep up the fight.

"We had nearly 20% of our workforce out with COVID," East Orange General Hospital President and CEO Paige Dworak said. "Lost doctors, family members -- it was a terrible time."

The holiday caravan ended with a closing prayer.

"So often we take for granted people who work at the hospital but it's more than a job, it's a calling and we thank them for caring for this community," Messiah Baptist Church Rev. Dana Owens said.

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