Bang On! Pan-pounding neighbours offer up loud salutes

From left, Jim Brennan, Janice Brennan and Kaitlyn Hill (holding sign) join about 25 socially distancing neighbours on Thelma Crescent while cheering on front-line workers. Kathy Schrader, Special to The Journal

Cathy Dobson

It’s been seven weeks since Kaitlyn Hill decided to make some noise for Sarnia’s front-line workers.

“I’m thinking of the nurses at the hospitals, the clerks in the grocery stores — everyone who has to work during the pandemic,” said Hill, a 27-year-old Bright’s Grove resident.

Hill heard about the worldwide phenomenon of neighbours collectively banging pots and clapping to support front-line workers from her sister Ashley, in Vancouver, where loud appreciation began early in the pandemic.

Invitations to Hill’s Thelma Crescent neighbours sparked the first 7 p.m. salute in early April.

“It’s really very special,” says Hill’s mom, Janice Brennan. “Kaitlyn is immune-suppressed so we take isolating very seriously.

“It’s hard not to be social, but this is just the way it has to be. When we go out to make noise at 7 p.m. on Fridays we can see all our neighbours at a nice distance and wave to them,” said Brennan.

“It really brings our community together.”

Not far away on Brookridge Court, Norma Lynn Downie and Pat Fazio rallied their neighbours and have been saluting front-line workers every night for eight weeks.

“We saw in Italy they were banging pots and playing music from their balconies,” said Downie. “Pat is Italian and we worried about the virus there. We also have nurses and doctors living on our street and wanted to show them our support.”

Despite many bitterly cold evenings, almost every Brookridge Court resident heads out to the driveway on time.

“We all set our alarms for 6:55 p.m. and then you see all the garage doors open,” said Downie. “It’s a great way for everyone to connect.”

Fazio has the job of calling out the professions being thanked, from medical staff to police.

“We always leave LCBO employees to last and then make a lot of noise,” said Downie.

She’s heard of other neighbourhoods participating in nightly or weekly salutes and welcomes each and every one.

“I’m happy others are picking up on it,” she said. “We could be doing this for a while — until we have a vaccine.”