For the past several months, Maria Parham Health has been facing the impact of COVID-19 with our community. We have built upon our robust emergency operations plan that we have in place year-round by updating policies, implementing new protocol, educating our staff, and working with our community partners in ways we never have before. But in all this preparation, MPH has never been alone.

Today, I write to share my appreciation to our community. Thank you to the countless individuals and organizations who have generously donated critically important supplies and resources and offered inspiring words of encouragement to our team. In this crisis, the true meaning of community has never been more apparent or appreciated. Patients, board members, staff, community providers, our sister facilities — all segments of the communities we serve and partner with — have shown their support during this pandemic.

Community members have brought in surgical masks and N95 respirators to add to the resources we are working to preserve. Local restaurants and businesses have sent food to treat our folks as they work. Many people have donated homemade cloth masks to our hospital and local EMS — an incredible labor of love. Posted signage, sidewalk chalk messages and decorated rocks cheer on our heroes and have infused our campuses with pride. And these are just a few of the many examples that exist.

The outpouring of love and encouragement from our community has been overwhelming, and it makes us so proud to call Vance and Franklin counties our home and to serve the northern triangle. MPH stands ready to serve you — our neighbors, family and friends. Please continue to keep our community safe and prevent further spread of this disease:

Practice social distancing.

Wash your hands often.

If you must go out in public, wear masks to protect those around you.

To learn more about Maria Parham Health’s COVID-19 preparedness and what you can do to help stay well, visit Mariaparham.com.

Bert Beard is CEO of Maria Parham Health.