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City joins growing movement to honor first responders

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The City of Rochester recently joined a growing movement to display the symbol of the Red Cross in order to honor first responders dealing with the pandemic. 

Initially started by Portsmouth resident Ted Jankowski, the Red Cross flag has started to appear all over New Hampshire and beyond. Jankowski’s purpose for flying the flag was to “say thanks to first responders helping those with COVID-19.”

“The idea was sent to us by Rochester resident Christine Hounsell,” said Matt Wyatt, Public Information and Community Engagement Manager, City of Rochester. “We decided to display the flag on our electronic message board. It’s an easy way for us to show thanks to those putting their lives on the line to care for COVID-19 patients.”

Hounsell stated that she first learned of the movement in the local press and thought to pass the idea along to City Hall. 

“I’ve been following the pandemic news closely and have been overwhelmed by how hard the medical staff has been working,” said Hounsell. “I’ve been wanting to send a message of how grateful we are… one that lasts more than a few days. When I saw the story of the red cross flags in Portsmouth, I thought that’s what we need to do in Rochester.”

Mayor Caroline McCarley was enthusiastic about the city’s participation and described the movement as “a reminder to socially distance, wear a mask, and follow the CDC-guidelines.”

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel but we can’t be complacent,” said Mayor McCarley. “It’s important for us to stay safe and show appreciation to first responders that are dealing with COVID-19 head-on.”

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