ORANGE PARK – Despite strict regulations in place to protect staff and residents from the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, Signature HealthCARE of Orange Park and officers from the Clay County …
ORANGE PARK – Despite strict regulations in place to protect staff and residents from the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, Signature HealthCARE of Orange Park and officers from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office took time on Monday, Jan. 18, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“I just feel like they know what happened, and they were there,” said Barbara Nicholls, Director of Activities for Signature. “A lot of them were there, and they understand it all. My goal is to make them happy and content, and if this is one of their feelings, this is what I want to do. I just do the best I can for my residents.”
Nicholls reached out to the sheriff’s office to ask if it could come by and support the event. With regulations in place for the residents’ health and safety, entry into the facility is tightly controlled. That didn’t stop the officers, who walked around the building, smiled and waved at residents through windows, while carrying a poster that celebrated the life and work of Dr. King. The poster featured some of his famous quotes along with a collage of pictures.
Meanwhile, some residents held a march in the hallways, reenacting one of Dr. King’s most famous and duplicated strategies for bringing attention to injustice and trying to affect change.
“We’re just showing our support for all of the citizens here that have been kind of cooped up with all the COVID and everything like that on the Martin Luther King anniversary day,” said CCSO Lt. Vincent Hall. “Just wanted to come by and show them that we’re still thinking about them even though we are kind of out of sight out of mind right now. Martin Luther King did do a lot of good for the civil rights movement. A lot of it’s come to light recently, obviously, with the goings-on throughout the United States.
“Here in Florida, especially in Clay County, we’re very fortunate. We are supported very well by the vast majority of our citizens. The elderly, especially, are very supportive of local law enforcement, and it means a lot to us. In regard to Martin Luther King, I’m sure it would mean a lot to him too. He stood for a lot of great things, and he certainly didn’t advocate for any of the violence that we’ve seen in recent times. And we really appreciate the fact that we’re supported here and a lot of that we owe to the elderly like these people here.”
The opportunity to celebrate the life of a titan of the civil rights movement was not lost on Signature Healthcare’s residents. Not only did some march the hallways, they also enjoyed the presence of the officers brandishing the poster at their windows.
Robert Garrett is the president of the resident council of Signature and has lived there for more than two years.
“It’s Martin Luther King’s birthday, and we’re gonna celebrate it the best way that we can,” said Garrett. “I think it means a lot to everybody because he was a great man in his own way. That doesn’t go for color – nothing. Martin Luther King didn’t see color. He saw the individual. And that’s my opinion. That’s why he was so widely respected. There are some people, and all they see is color. But he didn’t. He lived his life for everybody.”