supporting the employees of Pen Bay Medical Center

Pen Bay Garden of Gratitude recognizes healthcare workers on the front lines

Mon, 04/06/2020 - 5:30pm

    ROCKPORT — Hours before State Epidemiologist Dr. Nirav Shah would close his Monday COVID-19 briefing by encouraging Mainers to spotlight the healthcare workers risking their wellbeing to care for their community, materials for a Pen Bay Medical Center spotlight were already accumulating.

    With a little help from anonymous staff members, the Garden of Gratitude sprung from the lawn at the rear side of the building, mid-afternoon, April 6.

    Sign posts, ribbons, hearts, messages, and colors commenced to flutter in the wind, adding energy to a scene that organizers hope will grow with contributions by others.

    As permitted through the Governor’s daily exercise allowance, hikers of the Wellness Trail at Pen Bay Medical Center are invited to contribute a decoration of appreciation to the makeshift garden. Congregating is not recommended, which is why opening ceremonies and drive-by parades weren’t permitted to take place, according to organizers. Yet, donations of rocks, plants, ribbons, and painted wooden cut-outs are encouraged.

    “Please consider taking something to ‘plant’ in support of the hard working employees of Pen Bay Hospital who have been diligently facing this pandemic on a daily basis,” said an organizer of the garden. “The employees are working tirelessly and with professional prowess to support the health of our community.”

    Even without donations, the public can simply stop for a moment to repose, reflect, and rejuvenate among the small actions that, when identified together, create a greater picture.

    The garden is located along the ocean side of the building, halfway between the Main Entrance parking lot and the north side employee and cafeteria entrance. It will be tended daily in order to secure and manage any additions that may be environmentally dangerous, such as balloons that may be close to flying away. 

    For anyone who makes a painted wooden cut out, but needs assistance in ‘planting’ it, a volunteer is available to install if requested; email

    Other members of the public have posted signs of appreciation at the Route 1 entrance to the hospital, and, while the garden sprang from seed, other individuals were quietly tying balloons to workers’ vehicles.


    April 4, 2020 closing remarks by Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC

    As I close today, I’d like to draw a specific focus...To every single healthcare worker and healthcare provider who is on the front line right now. And I’d like to just take a moment to thank them – not only for their service, but for their courage. This is one of those situations where being courageous is not the same thing as being oblivious to risk. This is a situation where courage entails recognizing the risk and knowing full well that that risk exists, continuing to charge onto the front lines because they know that that is the right thing to do.

    And so, on behalf of all of us across the state of Maine, to every single health care worker who is on the front line, working on COVID-19, I want to tell you that we recognize the risk you are taking. And we commend your courage. Thank you for doing everything that you are doing. 

    There are simply not enough spotlights in the state of Maine to shine a light on each and every one of those people on the front lines. But each of them, in every corner of the state is doing heroic work, and I ask all of us to take a look around, take a look in our neighborhoods and our families and our communities and take a second to thank each and every one of those healthcare workers for the risk that they’re taking, and the courage that they are displaying right now. 

    This effort, state wide, could not exist without those healthcare workers who are on the front lines, and I personally thank them for their service. 

    Reach Sarah Thompson at