Tara and Erin Shipos witnessed first hand the hard work of many family members and friends on the front lines, as the coronavirus crisis unfolded. Both girls are actively involved in multiple clubs, including community service groups at Medway Public Schools, so it was no surprise that the sisters, along with their younger brother, Gavin, wanted to come up with an idea to recognize healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers that live in the community of Medway. The result: a community-wide distribution of balloons, color-coded by specialty, and a thank you note.
With the idea in place, the next project was to get the word out. The siblings chose the Facebook group, The Friends of Medway. Below is the message they composed:
Hi Friends of Medway! To recognize and support our friends and neighbors who are doing so much to fight coronavirus, we thought of a simple gesture to thank them. We would like to hang a balloon on their mailbox. If you know of someone you would like to recognize, please send me a message by Thursday with the color balloon and the address where you would like it to go. We are aiming for Saturday, weather permitting.
Word spread fast! They were overwhelmed with responses, private messages, texts and phone calls. Their friends, seeing the flurry of activity on their post, reached out to help. To the rescue were Rory Keating, Kaitlyn Calnan, Ethan Core, Sam McKeown, Charlie McKeown, Maeve Richardson, Ram Tysoe, Olivia Sistrand, Olivia Dennehy, Sophia Flotta and Sienna Flotta.
Next up was the logistics. Tara, Erin & Gavin ordered over 175 balloons and divided the town via the recognized recipients into areas. Each friend received a bunch of balloons on Friday, April 10th, along with a map, inclusive of their respective distribution area.
Saturday morning finally arrived and the Shipos siblings and their helpful group of friends set out to the streets of Medway at 10:30 a.m. They drove and walked the streets of Medway tying balloons and leaving notes of thanks in mailboxes at over 175 residences in Medway.
Blue: Healthcare Professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital staff, researchers, etc.
Red: First Responders – police officers, firefighters, EMTs, National Guard and military helping during this crisis.
Green: Essential Workers – grocery/gas station, pharmacy workers, truck/delivery drivers, manufacturing workers, postal service workers, etc.
The note read:
Your friends and neighbors would like to recognize your effort in fighting coronavirus! We appreciate you!
Erin Shipos’ happiest moment of the day was when a woman saw her tying a balloon to her mailbox. She hadn’t seen the post on Facebook so she didn’t know what was going on. I said, “We are putting a balloon on your mailbox because someone in your home is a healthcare professional.” She screamed “That’s me!”
Tara Shipos also added that she saw a nurse while she was tying a balloon to a mailbox, and the woman said, “This is so thoughtful! I’ll have to take a picture and show it to my co-workers.”