Staff members at Acadia Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation June 10, 2020 after a thank-you parade by community members. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Frontline workers at the Acadia Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation got a boost from the community this evening with a thank-you parade organized by the son of a longtime nurse at the home.

“If anyone’s on the front lines it’s the nursing home,” said Brian Linnen, a Riverhead volunteer firefighter and an administrator of a Facebook group dedicated to saluting first responders and frontline workers in the COVID crisis.

“Its special to me,” Linnen said. “My mom worked there for 40 years as an LPN. Both my grandmas lived there. I wanted to give back to Acadia.”

Linnen said no one had done a parade to honor the nursing home staff. “We had over 15 vehicles, plus a fire truck,” he said.

Members of Acadia’s staff stood outside the building to wave at the vehicles, decorated with signs and balloons and honking their horns as they drove by.

At the end of the parade, they broke into applause.

“They’re so dedicated,” Linnen said of the nursing home employees. They go above and beyond every day, he said.

Linnen is a member of a Facebook group dedicated to thanking first responders and frontline workers. Tonight’s parade was “a product of that,” he said. The group was founded by Gary Brodman, who Linnen said he’s never met in person but who has become a good friend through Facebook.

“There’s 1,665 people in the group,” he said. “It’s a really great community thing.”

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