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Local couple recognized for supporting frontline workers

July 3, 2020   ·   0 Comments

A couple in Alliston recently received recognition for their commitment and support towards frontline workers since the start of the pandemic.

Ken Pratt and his wife Bonnie have stood in their driveway banging pots and pans each night when the shift change happens at Stevenson Memorial Hospital.

Today is their 110th day banging and on June 22, for the 99th day, the community joined forces to thank them for their efforts. 

“For the 99th day, we were surprised…all of the sudden police cars, fire trucks and ambulances came through, just to give the siren salute,” said Ken.

“That was really nice because this has been a commitment of passion for me and it was a total surprise – I was overwhelmed by that.”

Pratt live streams the pot and pan banging on Facebook each night at 7:25 p.m. while sharing positive messages and stressing the importance of physical distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, and staying safe.

Mayor Milne recently had a non-COVID-19 related hospitalization for eight days and said he looked forward to watching Pratt’s streams on Facebook as he recovered.

After Mayor Milne got out of the hospital, he and his wife Eva started joining in with their own pots and pans periodically to show their support.

On the 99th day, after New Tecumseth’s emergency services paraded past Pratt’s house as a nod towards their continuous support, Mayor Milne presented him and his wife with a plaque of recognition.

“I just thought 99 days is a long time, and it’s still going on, so I thought him and Bonnie should be recognized in what they’re doing for the community,” said Mayor Milne. “It’s another positive attitude and I think right now with how the times are we need more positive attitudes out there as we get through this.”

“Being a former paramedic myself, it means a lot that the residents are supporting the frontline people, our nurses that go in every day and fight this disease and have a family at home,” he added.

The banging of pots and pans each night is understood as an act of solidarity by some, but many miss the sentiment when they pass by Pratt’s house, he noted.

“You do something like this and sometimes people think you’re nuts,” he said. “People walk by and they look at you like you’ve got two heads, but it’s nice to have someone from the Town recognize this.”

Meanwhile, many small businesses and retailers are struggling financially as they were forced to close through the pandemic.

Pratt said to shop local as much as possible but always do so safely and appreciate the work retailers are doing to provide services during a difficult time.

“I was in retail all my life and, believe me, for most of my life we weren’t heroes by any stretch of the imagination, but has become just the ordinary person is essential,” he explained.

It’s also been encouraging to see young families spend more time together because of the pandemic, said Pratt.

“It was positive when you’d walk around the neighbourhood to see there’s a whole generation… that are growing up knowing their kids,” he noted.

“You see kids riding their bike for the first time, learning to roller blade. We had a little guy down here, three years old, learning to shoot a hockey ball and the dad’s out there with him.”

The only way to end this pandemic and return to normalcy is through exercising caution and enacting public health recommendations to limit COVID-19’s spread, according to Pratt. He said one of his primary concerns about the pandemic is people becoming complacent as time passes.

“You can’t forget what’s going on; it’s an ongoing battle and we can’t let up,” Pratt stressed.

He and Bonnie plan to continue banging until they get the “peace horn,” when Ontario reaches its Stage 4 Reopening Plan.

“Who knows, we might get to 200 [days], but we’ll stay here and make our noise until we don’t need COVID testing,” Pratt said.

“As a country, as a world, we can beat this thing but we have to stay diligent.”

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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