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Gratitude for Doing the Impossible:

Dignity Health Launches New Campaign Thanking Health Care Heroes

by Mary Beth TeSelle, Special to The Union
As part of the Orange Ribbon Heroes campaign, Dignity Health is posting signage thanking health care workers at all six of their Sacramento-area hospitals. Signage at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital should be posted in coming weeks.

For a year now, Americans around the country have watched in awe as health care workers have carried out the hardest work in the most challenging conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were faced with treating a brand new virus in numbers that, at times, multiplied within days. During every shift, they have had to wear layers of protective gear that were previously reserved for only the rarest of illnesses. And they have managed all this while worrying about the health and well-being of their own families and loved ones.

As the one-year anniversary of the pandemic loomed on the horizon, Dignity Health was determined to find a way to recognize and honor those who have done the impossible. And they wanted to provide the community an opportunity to share their feelings of gratitude, too.

“Our employees and physicians have shown such dedication and commitment over the past year,” says Christopher Long, Director of Internal Communications, Dignity Health, Northern California Division. “When cases started peaking earlier this year, we knew that we all needed a morale boost, so we came up with an idea to create something special around the one-year anniversary mark.”



That idea blossomed into the Orange Ribbon Heroes campaign, a multi-faceted campaign that begins this month with signage that will be posted at the six Dignity Health hospitals in the Sacramento region, including Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital here in Grass Valley.

“The idea for the Orange Ribbon Heroes campaign really blossomed out of what we saw last spring at our hospitals and in our communities,” Long explains. “Grateful community members were posting homemade signs and leaving sidewalk chalk drawings, thanking our ‘health care heroes.’ It was uplifting for our staff to see that as they headed to work each day. We wanted to continue to provide them that boost. That’s our goal with the Orange Ribbon Heroes campaign.”



The first phase of the campaign will be large signs thanking health care workers, posted at the hospitals. The next phase will be engaging the community and giving them an outlet to share their messages directly with the frontline workers in their communities.

“Once the signs are up at all of our hospitals, we will begin sharing Orange Ribbon Heroes messages on the hospitals’ social media channels, including Facebook,” Long says. “We plan to invite community members to share their thanks, too. They will be able to send in messages, thanking the hospital or even thanking specific employees or physicians who made a difference for them in the past year.”

Long says these expressions of gratitude from community members will be shared on social media and also will be used on yard signs that will be posted around the hospitals in coming weeks and months.

Some of the messages may be used in videos created by Dignity Health, too. Eventually the campaign will include an employee appreciation element, as well.

“It’s exciting because it gives the community a chance to express their thanks directly to the health care workers in their community,” says Lori Katterhagen, DNP, RN, Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive Officer for SNMH. “We feel that getting through this past year has been a team effort and we’re happy to collaborate with our friends and neighbors to recognize our health care heroes.”

Long says when the past year became particularly challenging, it was often the support of the community that lifted up weary health care workers.

“The signs, the drawings, the messages on social media – that has often been what has kept our team members going over the past 12 months,” Katterhagen says. “That has been especially true in Grass Valley where the community has really rallied around the hospital and the clinics. Their support has meant so much and we are excited to keep that momentum going with this new campaign.”

To participate in the Orange Ribbon Campaign, follow Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital on Facebook (facebook.com/snmhospital) and watch for #OrangeRibbonHeroes posts in the coming weeks. Share your message of gratitude and it may become part of the campaign!

Express Your Gratitude with a Gift


Another way patients and community members can show their gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at SNMH is by making a financial donation to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation in support of hospital programs and equipment. Gifts can be made online at supportsierranevada.org; by calling 530.477.9700; or by mail to SNMHF, PO Box 1810, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Donations of all size are greatly appreciated and can help to make an impact.


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