Baptist Village of Owasso

Baptist Village of Owasso hosted a drive-by parade for its residence and their loved ones on Wednesday, May 20. The retirement and assisted living facility has been under quarantine since early March due to the coronavirus outbreak. SHAWN HEIN/Owasso Reporter

For nearly 2 1/2 months, the residents have been hunkered down inside Baptist Village of Owasso with limited contact to family due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, May 20, members of the retirement and assisted living facility had the opportunity to take their minds off of quarantine when they were treated to a drive-by parade. Friends and family lined the streets around Baptist Village for more than 30 minutes to catch a glimpse and to say hello to loved ones. (See GALLERY)

Several participants, many of which were children and grandchildren of the residents, decorated their vehicles with encouraging signs as they cheered and waved as they drove through.

“The inspiration was all about making sure the residence had an enhanced life (on Wednesday) and being able to see their families through a different way rather than through a window or on a telephone call,” said Associate Campus Director Mitzi Epperson. “So they actually got visualize and see the happiness of the crowd and wave and see the smiles and just be able to recognize their person out on the car.”

The parade, bookended by a police escort and included an appearance by the Jeepers Anonymous out of Tulsa, drew smiles, cheers and even several tears from loved ones and staff members.

“We had one lady that said ‘that’s my daughter.’ And that sent me into tears,” Epperson said. “… Everybody got teary-eyed. Everybody was very touched by the situation. And the turnout…the turnout was outrageous. I never dreamed that we’d have this many supporters and this many cars.”

While many parade participants were focused on seeing their loved ones, several came out to show their support for the workers as well.

“I feel like they’re supporting the team,” Epperson said. “They know what they’ve been through and they know what they’re doing. They know how we’ve been so actively trying to keep their lives enhanced by having to stay inside and the families having to stay away.”