By Travis Fortounas
What started out to be a Girl Scout project turned out to be one of the most subtle ways to say thank you to frontline workers at St. Francis Hospital. As we know, coronavirus swept through our state leaving a devastating impact on families worldwide. With the generous efforts of one bright young girl, Sara Lombardi is raising money to plant a Tulip garden outside of St. Francis hospital to thank frontline workers for their outstanding efforts on the frontlines for months now.
The garden will be close to the building, letting workers and visitors view the garden as they walk into and out of the hospital. Gratitude Gardens will be flourished with an assortment of different color tulips that annually grow back for up to seven years. Not only is Lombardi helping to ease the stress of an everyday hospital worker, she is also planting the tulip garden with hopes to receive the Gold Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.
“It’s a way of community service that leaves a long-lasting impact on your community,” Lombardi, founder of Gratitude Gardens, said. The idea grew from the inspiration of Victory Gardens, which were created during World War II in the United States to commemorate the frontline soldiers in the war, by planting a garden in a way to honor their sacrifice.
“The same thing is happening with our frontline workers,” Lombardi said. “They are risking their own lives to keep us safe. I want to plant it [the garden] in an area where the doctors pass by often where they are constantly reminded that people are grateful for what they do during this pandemic.”
Lombardi also hopes to reach out to other hospitals and institutions so they can create their own Gratitude Gardens. But Lombardi is not alone, with the efforts of her parents Mark and Josephine, Lombardi has had help from both ends. Mark, has been networking to reach as many people as possible with this story as well as Sara’s mother, Josephine has been a Cardiothoracic Assistant for 21 years and has worked at St. Francis for the last seven years. Their constant support for Sara’s dream makes the Gratitude Gardens bloom into the garden it’s meant to be.
“We presented this idea to the right people through my wife and they loved the idea,” Mark said. “What started out as a small project in late March has slowly evolved into so much more than that. Because of everything being so delayed, it’s truly her own endeavor right now. I think it’s a very positive thing that we all need right now.”
“With everything going on I think it’s such a positive thing and it’s really going to focus on what the important things are,” Josephine said. “When you hear something like this coming on, you’re in the attack mode like we’re going to conquer this and we’re going to get through this. It’s like people going to war as they protect our country, we’re going to protect our people.”
Gratitude Gardens will be open to the public in a few weeks. To donate to tthe Gratitude Gardens visit https://1150.thankyou4caring.org/–gratitude-garden.