Mike Zaleski of Riverhead is taking a four-mile run around Riverhead that takes him past Peconic Bay Medical Center twice, asking people to honk to support health care workers. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Mike Zaleski is on the run.

The 47-year-old Riverhead man is jogging on a route that twice takes him past Peconic Bay Medical Center, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the message “HONK! SUPPORT ALL HEALTH WORKERS.”

“I wanted to support hospital staff, to try to bring attention to what they’re doing,” Zaleski said. “Their lives are on the line.”

Hearing horns honking as he jogs around central Riverhead lets him know he’s getting his message across, Zaleski said.

Zaleski, a lifelong Riverhead resident, was born in the Riverhead hospital and has been a patient there a few times, including a weeklong stay as a child after he suffered a ruptured appendix. His brother works there as an x-ray technician, he said.

“I wanted to support them and show my appreciation,” Zaleski said.

Zaleski, who is the deputy superintendent of the Riverhead Highway Department, has been on the highway crew for 26 years.

“You can’t compare it driving a plow truck during a blizzard to working in a hospital in this situation,” Zaleski said, “but I know what it’s like to be out in a storm working alone while everyone is home in their own homes.” He feels for them, he said.

He started this run about a week and a half ago and he’s doing it three times a week.

“I’m trying to bring some good to this — out of all of this bad that’s going on,” Zaleski said. “I wanted to support them.”

Mike Zaleski waves to motorists on his jog along Route 58 yesterday.
Photo: Denise Civiletti

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.