SEBRING — When COVID-19 hit the scene several months ago, residents rallied around first responders and health care workers. Prayer vigils at health care facilities, lawn signs and other gestures were offered in thanks and support for the workers on the “front lines.” Since those originally occurred in March and April, in keeping with the “safer at home” campaign, the vigils and tangible show of support has waned.
A local couple, who do not want to be recognized, felt it would be a good idea to bring some visible support back to the workers. They have coordinated “Light up the Lot,” to be held at the three county hospitals. The vigil is 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. on Monday. The time was chosen because it is around shift changes for the nurses, doctors and other staff.
Choose the hospital location that is closest between AdventHealth Sebring at 4200 Sun N Lake Blvd., Highlands Regional Medical Center at 3600 S Highlands Ave. and AdventHealth Lake Placid at 1210 US Highway 27 S. AdventHealth in Sebring will have foundation members directing the parking. Advent Health Lake Placid visitors should park in the front of the hospital and those who are attending Highlands Regional Medical Center should park in the front lot (closest to U.S. 27).
The couple said the idea is very simple, park the car with the headlights on and pray for the workers and patients who are battling COVID-19. The only rule is not to get out of the car. Guests are encouraged to use their imaginations and decorate signs to put in windshields or propped up in a moon roof. Please do not honk horns. The mission statement for the event is “to share a message of hope, strength and and encouragement through prayer.”
The idea for the vigil was borrowed from local ABIDE pastors who organized the March event. Pastor David Juliano from First Sebring Church took part in organizing one of the vigils in April before the executive order was given for the state to close. Juliano said that most people have been self isolating and keeping to themselves.
“Corporate prayer has been negligible,” he saiad. “We have withdrawn inwardly into ourselves.”
He thought it was a good time for people to show support for others in the safe setting.
“As a pastor, I am pleased to see lay people take up the gauntlet,” Juliano said. “We need to do this and lift up the health care workers and the community in prayer.”