First responders from all over Douglas County gathered to honor and show support for the employees at CHI Mercy Medical Center in recognition of their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Oregon State Police Lt. Steve Mitchell organized the event after seeing it done in Washington County and the Friday evening turnout was more than he anticipated.

“I thought that would be kind of nice to do here and I made a call to the sheriff’s office and the Roseburg PD and it just kind of evolved from there,” Mitchell said. “I knew we’d have a few, I didn’t expect this many.”

Several units from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Roseburg Police Department, along with representatives Sutherlin, Winston, and Myrtle Creek. Fire departments from Tenmile, Tri City, Douglas County Fire District No. 2. Even a few ambulances showed up to participate in the procession.

“We just thought it was a good opportunity for law enforcement and other first responders to show our appreciation to the caregivers at the hospital,” Hanlin said.

There appeared to be close to 80 vehicles in the procession as they moved from the parking lot by Big 5 Sporting Goods and crossed Northwest Stewart Parkway into Mercy Drive.

They moved around the Mercy Drive loop with emergency lights flashing, to the delight of the employees who gathered along the sidewalks and by the north patient entrance and the emergency entrance.

Many employees came out to acknowledge the support, waving and cheering as they went by.

“It’s definitely just showing our appreciation the to health care workers through this crisis,” Mitchell said. “As first responders, many of our spouses and significant others are also in the health care industry and several of them work at Mercy,” Mitchell said. “So it’s just our way to show appreciation.”

It was pretty emotional for Olivia Garza-Anaya, a registered nurse at CHI Mercy Medical.

“This is amazing, this is an awesome show of support, it makes it so special,” she said. “It’s a united front that’s for sure. It brings tears to my eye.”

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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