UK holds parade to honor front-line workers

A parade of police and construction workers organized by Gooch Construction honors front-line health and public safety workers on Friday, April 10, 2020, on South Limestone outside of the UK Chandler Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Emily Girard

A parade of vehicles drove near UK’s campus on Thursday to honor front-line workers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The parade passed UK’s Chandler Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital, showing appreciation to healthcare workers. 

Rick McDonald, concrete superintendent at campus construction company Gooch Construction, collaborated with UK Police and UK HealthCare to organize the parade. McDonald said he organized the parade out of a desire to show support for those fighting the pandemic.

“Seeing our governor every day come on and talk about all this tragedy and the loss of lives, I thought to myself, what can I do as a company to do something for these frontline workers?” said McDonald.

The vehicles in the parade included Gooch Construction vehicles, cement mixers and UK police cars. Some vehicles were adorned with balloons, and people held signs in the beds of pickup trucks. One trailer had a banner reading, “We appreciate you!”

In keeping with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, community members were asked not to attend in person, instead watching the parade live on UK HealthCare’s Facebook page. Despite these restrictions, McDonald said he was still impressed with how many people were willing to help.

“Everybody immediately was on board,” said McDonald. “My heart’s so big [with] the way people are…involved in this. It’s overwhelming.”

Gooch Construction is also giving $2,000 to a community-nominated front-line worker. (The winner of this giveaway will be announced on Gooch Construction’s Facebook page.) However, McDonald said the parade and the giveaway are not intended to promote Gooch Construction. 

“It’s not about advertisement; it’s about showing respect and thanks to these selfless people that are coming in and working 12 hours a day, seven days a week,” said McDonald. “When you’re good to somebody, and somebody’s good to you, you want them involved with whatever you do.”