Messages from the Heart: A Tribute to OTMH Frontline Workers  

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We are grateful for your professionalism and for your commitment to our community. We appreciate your great sense of courage, your devotion and your sense of responsibility. Your love and sacrifice has kept our community safe, and helped us fight against this virus. You deserve our deepest gratitude.”
 
Emma Tao, an Oakville resident and high school student, collected over one hundred voice recordings like this one from community members that personally thank frontline workers at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH). 
 
With help from her friend Aileen, Emma started this initiative as a way of recognizing our OTMH Heroes for all their hard work, and for their devotion to keeping Oakville safe and healthy during this time. 
 
“I wanted to do something more personal for the frontline workers at OTMH. I wanted to connect our community with our hospital because I’ve seen a lot of youth-led initiatives and programs during COVID-19 that focus on spreading gratitude to healthcare workers in general, but not specifically and personally to our community hospital,” says Emma. 
 
Emma spent most of November and December collecting these voice recordings and messages of hope for the holiday season. In addition to the recordings her and Aileen collected in person, Emma set up an online mailbox that community members could drop their voice recordings into.
 
“Going up to people was tough because sometimes they needed time to prepare. That’s why I set up the mailbox,” says Emma. “I told people, ‘This is what we’re doing, and if you want, you can drop your short messages of thanks for OTMH frontline workers in this online mailbox.’”
 
Emma wanted to have a diverse collection of recordings. The messages range from teachers at her school, young students, shop owners, and even people sending messages of thanks from abroad. 
 
“My goal was one hundred recordings,” says Emma. “I wanted people I know to leave messages for the frontline workers. But when I started asking those people for secondary contacts, that’s when we got a lot. Everyone really put their hearts into their messages.”
 
Through Emma’s project, her goal was to “keep the momentum of giving and support going.” She hopes that initiatives such as this one create a chain reaction of gratitude in our community, thanking those keeping Oakville safe not only now, but always. 
 
You can listen to the thank you messages Emma collected here: https://youtu.be/WLetCIIGbyg