Soon after the coronavirus pandemic hit the area in March, community members came up with thoughtful and creative ways to provide support and show appreciation for essential workers on the front lines. The bulk of the support came in the form of food, masks and car parades, but as the crisis wore on, an idea formed to create a more permanent way to say thank you.
Two community-curated murals were installed this week in the employee cafeteria at Mercy Medical Center as a way to thank all of the front-line staff who have fought, and continue to fight, against Covid-19 and to bring the community together during such challenging times.
Rockville Centre resident Beth Hammerman, a former employee of Mercy Medical Center, lead one of the two mural projects, using tiles.
“I wanted to create something that would last to thank the health care workers at the hospital during the coronavirus pandemic,” Hammerman said. “I wanted to create a lasting memory, something that hopefully would be there forever, so no one would ever forget what the employees went through during this pandemic. They risked their own lives to save others and that should never be forgotten.”
Hammerman said she envisioned something similar to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City – something that would be available for the public to see and to help people remember what happened during this pandemic.
Hammerman, who worked at Mercy as a director of planning from 1994 until 2014, said she wanted to focus on health care workers because she felt they were “the most vulnerable” and chose the hospital because it is part of her community.
“And, I worked there for 20 years so I know a lot of the staff and could feel and understand what they were going through,” she added, “so it made the project more personal to me.”
The mixed-media canvas rainbow mural was created by Hue Studio in Rockville Centre and sponsored by the Support for Local Business & Frontline Workers Facebook group, which helped raise funds to feed and support Long Island front line workers during the pandemic. Each community that participated was given a 4x4 canvas square and assigned a color. The squares feature paint, pinecones and leaves, old toys, fabric, lace, ribbon and so much more. When assembled, the large canvas creates a rainbow.
“It’s important to have a memento of this time of challenge,” said Eduardo Pacchioni, a pharmacist at Mercy Medical Center. “These murals are nicely done and standing in front of them instills the feeling of care that drove the hard work of everyone at Mercy to get through to the state of recovery we are at now.”