Supporting health care workers: Parking lot thank-yous inspiring Butler County hospitals

Local medical professionals are receiving support from the police, fire, EMS and church communities as they continue to be on the front lines battling the coronavirus.

Public safety officials throughout Butler County saluted health care workers at local hospitals this week by setting up in designated locations in their vehicles with lights and sirens activated.

This was repeated at Fort Hamilton Hospital, Kettering Health Network Middletown, Franklin Emergency Center and Atrium Medical Center in Middletown.

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“We are so grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support from police, fire and EMS,” said Ron Connovich, president of Fort Hamilton Hospital. “They are on the front lines as well, and we appreciate all they do to keep our community safe.”

Then on Thursday night, a group from SouthBrook Christian Church in Miamisburg organized a “park and pray” outside Atrium.

Brad Morrison, chief nursing officer at Fort Hamilton, said seeing all the emergency personnel parked outside the main entrance of the hospital was “a really cool experience” and it represented “a sign of support and encouragement” for all the staff.

He was thankful the event occurred during a shift change so more of the hospital staff could attend. He said those who work in public safety and those in the medical field have formed a close partnership because of the amount of time police and EMS spend in the hospital.

Dealing with the coronavirus during these unprecedented times has been “an interesting journey,” Morrison said. Everyone at the local, regional and national levels are working together to fight the coronavirus, he said.

Still, battling the coronavirus has caused “angst and stress” among the hospital staff because of the unknown, he said.

Events like the “park and pray” Thursday night at Atrium have a strong impact on the medical staff, said Ed Bastien, manager of pastoral services.

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“It means everything,” he said of the events held in hospital parking lots. “These are surreal times for everyone. This has offered challenges that nobody has foreseen. It really has taken a toll on the staff.”

He has been impressed by the ways the community has supported the medical staff through food donations, prayer events and appearances from local police and fire departments.

“It’s amazing the different ways people have stayed connected when we stay apart,” Bastien said. “It lifts everyone’s spirits so much.”

He has met with AMC staff, and regardless of their faiths or the level of their beliefs, they appreciate the prayer, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

“When you believe in things you can’t see and you’re battling an enemy you can’t see, it makes you take a look at faith and consider it in a new way,” he said. “You know there is something bigger than this invisible enemy.”

Those who work in the medical profession face the same social struggles as the rest of society, he said. They’re concerned about finances and their health, too, he said.

Looking outside the walls of the hospital and seeing parked cars and people praying gives employees confidence, he said.

“Incredibly inspiring,” he said. “Regardless of their strength of faith, everybody feels that energy. It has a tremendous impact on us.”


We’re looking to profile people throughout our coverage area about how the coronavirus is impacting your daily life. If you’re interested in sharing your story about how you’re affected or adapting to the situation, call Journal-News reporter Rick McCrabb at 513-483-5216 or email

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