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Neighborhood House residents celebrate Flag Day with parade

A Keene Volunteer Fire & Rescue truck takes part in a Flag Day parade for Keene Valley Neighborhood House residents on Sunday, June 14. (Photo provided)

KEENE VALLEY — Keene Valley Neighborhood residents were treated to a Flag Day parade on Sunday, June 14. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the virus in residential facilities, visitors have not been allowed inside the building or outside on the lawn. Hannah Smith decided that a parade could provide cheerful contact with the world outside the assisted living center while maintaining safe distancing. Backed by the Rotary Club of AuSable Valley, she put her plan into action.

Professional violinist and jazz musician Bill Stokes brought his amplifier in order to play a rousing version of “America the Beautiful” recorded by Ray Charles, which, along with perfect summer weather, set the mood for the occasion.  

From upstairs and downstairs porches festooned with red, white and blue balloons, residents and workers watched the auto parade pass slowly around the horseshoe-shaped drive in front of the building. Family members and community members, a Keene Valley Fire Department fire truck, antique cars and other well-wishers streamed by in their vehicles, waving. Residents waved back. The event was short and definitely sweet.

Here is what Keene Valley Neighborhood Director Richard Rothstein had to say about the parade:  

“The restrictions on visitations due to the COVID-19 virus have hit long-term care facilities particularly hard, in the sense that these populations tend to be in better medical and cognitive condition than nursing home residents. Assisted living residents, like those residing at the Keene Valley Neighborhood House, still enjoy routine interactions with friends and family. The restrictions imposed by the governor’s executive orders, while addressing the need to ensure the physical safety of our residents, have negatively impacted their psychological well-being …

“The Board of Trustees, the employees and the residents of the Keene Valley Neighborhood House wish to thank Hannah Smith of Keene Valley, and all the Ausable Valley Rotary club members, along with all the friends, families and community members and the Keene Fire Department for coming to Keene Valley Neighborhood House Sunday, June 14 (Flag Day), and giving us a beautiful auto parade. The outpouring of love and support really moved us beyond words.”