‘Thank you to all health care workers for keeping our health care system turning’

A community gesture along a fence outside UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital is a reminder that like a pinwheel, we are all connected and depend on each other to keep going.
March 8, 2022
Christy Texeira, forefront, and Kelli Wallace, place pinwheels in the fence along Lemay Avenue outside UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital on Sunday, March 6, 2022, to show their support for health care workers. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

Frigid temperatures didn’t stop a group of neighbors from showing their support and gratitude for health care workers on Sunday, March 6. After all, their heroes have been weathering their own challenges these past two years.

A group of neighbors came out to show their support for health care workers despite freezing temperatures on Sunday. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

Bundled in winter coats and hats, about a dozen adults and their children placed 800 gold pinwheels in a chain-link fence along UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital’s property line along busy Lemay Avenue. A sign placed among the pinwheels reads: Thank you to all health care workers for keeping our health care system turning.

“People have forgotten that medical professionals are also human,” said co-organizer Christy Texeira. “They can and have gotten COVID, and they’ve had to alter their jobs, lives, and practices to serve the community. They’ve probably held their tongues and opinions and remained professional when it would have been easy not to.

“I don’t think we can say thank you enough. COVID aside, you still need health care, and they haven’t had a choice whether to step up — they just did — and it’s important for us to return the favor in this small way compared to what they’ve done for us.”

Emily Texeira helps place pinwheels on Sunday. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

A few weeks ago, Texeira was asked by Kelli Wallace, her friend and neighbor, about doing something to show appreciation for health care workers. Both families feel extreme gratitude for health care heroes.

Texeira delivered both her daughters at Poudre Valley Hospital. One of her daughters was extremely ill as a child, and the Texeira family relied on medical professionals to help them.

“If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have our daughter now,” Texeira said. “This cause is near and dear to my heart.”

Wallace also delivered her children at Poudre Valley Hospital. In 2018, caregivers saved her son. When she and her husband, John, arrived at the emergency room, John cradled their breathless 9-year-old in his arms. Their son suffered an asthma attack and was “caving,’’ though the family had no idea at the time that he had asthma.

Kelli Wallace shows her support for her community’s health care workers, who have saved two of her family members on two different occasions. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

Then last summer, John suffered a collapsed lung from a mountain biking accident. He also received care at Poudre Valley Hospital.

“We want them to know we haven’t forgotten them,” Wallace said. “Even outside the pandemic, they’ve always been here for us.”

“Their fatigue deserves to be recognized,” Texeira added. “Hopefully, this will serve as an encouraging way to sustain them a bit longer; reminders to them why they got into the field.”

Texeira said they decided to put the pinwheels outside along the fence because everyone inside, from cafeteria workers to nurses and physicians, deserves the reminder that they have kept health care turning during this pandemic.

A group of Fort Collins neighbors gathered Sunday to show their gratitude for health care workers, outside UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

“I see our teams working so hard every day. This small gesture is a reminder that those efforts are noticed; the community does care about them as they care for others,” said Grace Taylor, vice president of operations for Poudre Valley Hospital and UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies.

“This is an acknowledgment by our neighbors … We are all connected, and like a pinwheel, we depend on each other to keep going. With so much negativity and uncertainty in our world today, this act of kindness and positivity means everything right now,” Taylor said.

About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.