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Balloons and website say thanks to healthcare workers

April 03, 2020

A nationwide effort to recognize and encourage healthcare workers in the days of COVID-19 has been launched with a Greater Binghamton and UHS connection.

With balloons and heartfelt online messages, the effort is gaining momentum across the country.

A website, www.honorandthank.com, has been launched by Binghamton native Kathleen Kilmer, chief executive officer of the Nevada-based company Easy Event Planning.

And her sister, Rosemarie Kleitz, of A Balloon Affair in Binghamton, has begun installing letter-balloon thank yous outside UHS Wilson Medical Center, UHS Binghamton General Hospital and other UHS locations.

“My sister has created a page on her website where people can go and leave positive messages of love, thankfulness and encouragement to all of those working in healthcare facilities,” Ms. Kleitz told UHS News.

To date, visitors to the web page have left a large number of messages for staff at many healthcare facilities nationwide, including 55 specifically to encourage UHS staff working with courage and professionalism under pressure.

Ms. Kleitz received permission to set up the balloons outside UHS locations “to spread the word about the website and also to find a way to thank all of our healthcare workers in our local area.”

The impact of the pandemic on healthcare professionals came home to Ms. Kleitz and Ms. Kilmer when another of their sisters, a nurse in Nevada, had to cope emotionally with losing two of her patients to the coronavirus.

“The awful feeling of not being able to help overcame her,” Ms. Kleitz said.

But the messages of love and hope that have been posted to the honorandthank.com website have been uplifting to their sister and many of her nursing colleagues, Ms. Kleitz noted.