It’s a common occurrence these days for a group of family members to wait outside the main entrance to Peconic Bay Medical Center as a loved one is wheeled out of the hospital on their way home to life after being treated for COVID-19.
Joining them is often more than a dozen staff members from the Riverhead hospital. The cheers at first are directed toward the patient on their way to a full recovery. Then the applause usually turns to the health care workers.
Now those workers are likely to receive a more permanent salute thanks to an idea floated by the PBMC administration to the Riverhead Town Board.
The portion of Roanoke Avenue between Route 58 and Middle Road could soon be renamed “Heroes Way.”
The proposal, which was first reported by riverheadlocal.com, was initiated in a text message to board members last week by hospital president and CEO Andy Mitchell. Board members unanimously responded enthusiastically to the idea.
“Heroes are not born, they are made,” Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said Saturday. “Surely the heroism displayed by our hospital staff headed by President Mitchell, along with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, our Police Department and all other frontline workers under this unprecedented invisible health war, profoundly displays undaunted courage and resilience in fighting for the most vulnerable. Naming the street in front of the Peconic Bay Medical Center is the least we can do. We salute you heroes.”
Discussions have been preliminary and the board is likely to begin the process of renaming the street in the near future.
The salutes to staff at the hospital, which services patients from across the East End and Brookhaven Town, have been plentiful in recent weeks, including drive-by tributes from first responders and others in the community. PBMC has also received generous support from donors, including one anonymous donation of $1 million earlier this month.