First responders to salute hospital workers

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SARASOTA, Fla. — On Friday, April 17, hundreds of hospital workers on the front lines of this coronavirus will get a big surprise.

“Our hope is that we bring some smiles to everybody’s faces,” Longboat Key Fire Chief Paul Dezzi said.

Longboat Key Fire Department arranged an honorary salute.

“We have nine hospitals between Manatee and Sarasota County and about 15 fire departments as well as Manatee County EMS that will participate in an appreciation to the hospital staff,” Fire Chief Paul Dezzi said.

Sarasota and Manatee County Fire Departments and EMS, along with Venice and North Port Fire Department will all be there with their fire truck lights flashing.

“We thought let’s make it a fun day on a Friday before the weekend and let everybody know we appreciate all they’ve done,” Dezzi said.

It’s an appreciation more than deserved as our local doctors, nurses, and hospital staff work around the clock to save lives, as they continue to face the challenges of COVID-19.

“We know what they are going through and we want them to know that we are here for them,” Dezzi said.

Dezzi says first responders are in the same boat, constantly risking exposure. But he says, no matter what this pandemic has thrown their way, he and his firefighters keep showing up to work.

“We are essential employees, we have not had anybody not want to come into work to assist,” Dezzi said. “I mean that’s what we do, and we knew when we signed up for this job we’re here for anything.”

At 3 p.m. Manatee and Sarasota County Dispatch Centers will make a special announcement over the radio.

More than 50 emergency vehicles will be lined up with their lights flashing along with around 100 fire and EMS personnel in their full gear. They will sound the air horn four times, followed by all personnel standing at attention saluting the hospital staff.

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