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Strength and Hope

Area firefighters raise the doors and light up the trucks as a show of support in the war against COVID-19
The Oxford Fire Department joined fire departments, EMS providers and law enforcement agencies across Johnson County and the state in lighting up their trucks Wednesday, March 25, as a sign of strength and hope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

OXFORD– “The doors are down, all is quiet, but we still stand ready.”
So said Solon firefighter Greg Morris in a Facebook post announcing a special response for Wednesday, March 25. At 7 p.m., the Solon Tri-Township Fire Department was going to raise the doors of the apparatus bays and turn on the emergency lights on the trucks as a sign of strength and hope for all during the ongoing war against the COVID-19 virus.
“Hope for all who work daily in EMS (Emergency Medical Services), Fire and Law Enforcement to be ready, strength for those working around the clock to provide care, encouragement to those who strive to find the right medicine to help, patience for those in the food/grocery industry to feed us, and will power to those trucking daily to keep us going,” he wrote.
Not surprisingly, his post went viral with fire departments across Johnson County, along with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, North Liberty Police Department, and Johnson County Ambulance Service, and beyond joining in. The Iowa Firefighters Association sent an email to member departments asking them to participate. Morris posted, after the event, “We are overwhelmed with the amount of departments we have reached nationwide that also lit up their trucks for the same cause tonight.”
In Oxford, the doors of the fire station went up promptly at 7 p.m., the trucks were started, and the warning lights were activated as a small crowd gathered across the street.
Morris also encouraged others to participate by turning on their porch light and by putting out a red, white, and/or blue ribbon to show support for those in the emergency and medical service industries, and to show the strength of a unified nation.
After the event Morris said, in an interview via social media, the idea came from his involvement in the Solon Firehouse project, a fundraising effort to build a new fire station.
“As I watched, listened and observed this past week… you could see it in their faces, hear it in their voices. Are WE okay, what is really going on… it’s 2020 not 1918. We (community, state, country) needed something. So why not ‘Lights for Hope and Strength?’”
He explained it was a chance to acknowledge all who are involved daily in the battle against the virus.
He said, “It gives all five minutes of peace, relief and yes hope for tomorrow. Maybe someone will think differently or better for tomorrow and beyond.”
Morris said he had heard from fire departments in Wisconsin, South Dakota and Illinois.
“Not sure how many (departments participated) but a bunch,” he added.
The event, designed to lift the spirits of the community even if only for a few minutes, had the desired effect on him.
“To be honest, best I’ve felt in a week. Our guys probably needed it, too.”