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Headlights for Hope: Drivers Across the US Say Thanks to Healthcare Workers

Hard work is made even harder without a hug from a neighbor, a handshake from a colleague or even a night out to celebrate. Right now, I think we can all agree that healthcare workers on the front lines are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. Social distancing protocols and stay-at-home orders only make their job all the more difficult.

But communities throughout the US are showcasing their immense gratitude for hospital and healthcare staff in their area. Through Headlights for Hope, they’re trying their hardest to ease the burden on the most essential field and give the ultimate thanks (from a safe distance, of course).

Shining headlights, honking horns

Just imagine: a parade of vehicles making their way to the local hospital for no other reason than to turn on their headlights, honk their horns and wave colorful, homemade signs. While it may seem like everyone has officially gone stir-crazy, the truth is a whole lot brighter.

Nationwide, communities took the initiative to organize a parade in which cars full of families drove around hospital grounds. Using their car horns and headlights, these people made certain they were seen and heard. After all, these folks wanted every hospital staff member and healthcare worker on the front lines to know just how much the community cared about their wellbeing.

It may not be a donation or a tangible gift, but it is one heck of a morale booster. It’s togetherness, all distance considered.

Support for healthcare workers in Kansas, Oklahoma, and beyond

With a growing number of communities taking part in the Headlights for Hope campaign, I’m feeling a little choked up.

Cars circled hospitals in Topeka, Kansas in an effort to prove their support and boost workers’ morale. Signs read “Thank you frontliners! #WeSeeYou,” “You’re 1 in a million,” and “Thank you for all you do!” There was even a sign repping Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, California. From adults to children, everyone was present.

Josie Warriner, who organized the Topeka event, went so far as to donate single-use cups of coffee for hospital workers. Talk about going above and beyond!

Residents of Owassa, Oklahoma gathered in their separate vehicles at Bailey Medical Center to take part in their own Headlights for Hope event. Police SUVs were there to keep things cool, and someone even took their hot rod for a spin to brighten up the line.

Healthcare workers could be seen through the windows, donned with masks and waving with gusto to the parade of honking, shining cars. These essential workers were obviously moved; even with masks on, their squished eyes made their smiles known.

The faces behind the headlights

It’s easy to hide behind a mask these days. In this cultural climate, I don’t think anyone would blame you. Many people are using all their energy to take care of their own family or even themselves, leaving nothing but a dwindling battery for extra curriculars.

In my opinion, that’s what makes Headlights for Hope so special.

Families are going out of their way to showcase gratitude for their local front liners, and they’re doing so beyond the keyboard. While a digital thanks can be helpful, there’s something about people stepping out and stepping up that makes their actions speak so much louder (the bright lights and loud horns don’t hurt, either).

Many of the communities organizing Headlights for Hope are small cities and towns. While the worst of the pandemic lies in major metropolis regions like New York City and Los Angeles, this just goes to show that rural America still has heart — for their own hospitals as well as healthcare workers the world over.

Of course, GM’s initiative to produce PPE masks and ventilators is a major win for healthcare workers and the patients whom they care for. Combine corporate action like this and individual gestures like Headlights for Hope and we’ve got ourselves a nationwide community that just won’t quit.

Search #headlightsforhope for more information

Search #headlightsforhope on your favorite social channel for more on the campaign. If you want to organize a Headlights for Hope gathering at your own local hospital, use this hashtag and band the community #togetherapart.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to show your gratitude for the healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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    13 Comments

    1. Big thanks to all the doctors and nurses out there, really the heros during this time. Great Article!

    2. Not only does #headlightsforhope make me feel good, but it also perfectly fits our vision here at headlights.com, to provide useful and engaging information with a spin on automotive lighting. Rachel is a new writer on our team and I look forward to her next piece!

    3. This article shows how people will always find a way to come together, because it is human nature. I would like to see car meets that use this hashtag, so we can enjoy car meets again.

    4. Headlights for hope is something I know personally, having a family member who works in the healthcare field as a RN its a really difficult time right now. The least we can do as a community is show our support and gratitude to the essential workers with our headlights for hope we can do so. A bright light of appreciation will go a long a way!

    5. It’s great to see light being shown on the real heroes of society!

    6. I love that during times of uncertainty such as these we as human beings can still come together creatively to show that we appreciate one another. It goes to show that the best thing life are not money and material things, but just simply showing up and showing through your actions that you care. I hope that all the healthcare workers feel the support.

    7. What a great idea! Many of these healthcare workers are quarantined from their families in fear of infection. Headlights for Hope is providing much-needed appreciation!

    8. Great article, Rachel!

    9. Loving the feedback on this!

    10. It’s the little gestures of appreciation that matter the most.

    11. This is amazing, I think every city should be doing this, it’s a great way to show how much we care and appreciate the front line workers that are putting themselves on the line every day to help our communities.

    12. This is so touching to see during such a trying time.

    13. Wow, I didn’t realize someone was cutting an onion around me. People are doing anything and everything they can to show their appreciation for those fighting for us in this hard time. This is very creative; putting those headlights to use in a different way. We are usually honking our horns or flashing our lights as a measure of safety. Now these people are doing so to show their gratitude for the safety these healthcare providers are allowing us. #HeadlightsforHope

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