‘You’re our heroes’: Local man’s sign at Strong Hospital sends powerful message

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One local resident is showing his support to healthcare workers by standing outside of Strong Memorial Hospital by Crittenden Boulevard with a sign that reads ‘you’re our heroes.’

Greg Irwin is a consultant in his day job, but in the mornings he holds signs with uplifting messages around the clock. He began last Wednesday and said he’s had a positive response since his first day out.

“I thought there would be appreciation for it,” Irwin said. “I did not realize the effect it would have on people and I didn’t realize how much healthcare workers need to know that we’re still out here, supporting them.”

According to Irwin, some responses have been emotional. He arrives at 6:15 a.m. and intends to do the same every week.

“People have said they had tears in their eyes when they saw me because they just need this positive reinforcement right now,” Irwin said. “Shift change is about [6:15 a.m.] for a lot of the nurses and different staff, so I wanted to hit as many as possible and let them know we’re still here for them.”

Because he works remotely, showing his support has also gives him a reason to be outdoors.

“I’m not getting paid to be here, I’m literally just a guy holding a sign telling people how much I appreciate them,” Irwin said. “You know, I work on computers at home all day, so this is a way for me to get out of the house too and see a lot of people instead of just my office at home.”

Irwin said when he stands at the corner of the hospital, he’s standing for more than himself.

“It’s representative of a whole group of people that really does appreciate what they’re still doing — first responders and healthcare workers and everybody,” Irwin said. “I just need everybody to know that.”

Even as the seasons change, Irwin said he plans to continue his mission.

“For as long as I can,” Irwin said. “You know even if it gets cold — the other day it was raining out here — I’m hoping to support them as long as I need.” 

There are also positive messages drawn in chalk on the corner where Irwin stands. Although he said the art is fantastic, he isn’t the chalk artist.

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