Breaking News
More () »

Des Moines 'Day of Thanks' fills entire day with appreciation for front line workers

Lights painted the sky of Des Moines Wednesday evening, and it was all for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

DES MOINES, Iowa — In the dark trenches of the coronavirus pandemic, there is light.

This is especially true for the City of Des Moines. Wednesday night, the ICubs stadium participated in "Lights On" Des Moines along with other homes and businesses.

Red, white and blue streaks painted the nighttime sky, and the giant billboard displayed a larger-than-life thank you message to those working on the front lines of the pandemic.

Even Drake University's Knapp Center was draped in color, all for health care workers.

This was part of a full day of appreciation, or a "Day of Thanks" for health care workers battling the virus. Earlier that day, Des Moines first responders lined up for an "appreciation parade." One-by-one they drove through the parking lot of MercyOne Des Moines.

Health care workers stepped out of the hospital to wave, some even brought their kids. One of those kids is very proud of their mom.

"She helps babies!" one exclaimed.

Cindy Penney, Vice President of Nursing and CNO from MercyOne, oversees 1,600 nurses and additional support staff between the hospitals in Des Moines and West Des Moines. 

She said she gets emotional just thinking about the gratitude she has for her hardworking staff.

"I'm having goosebumps and tears just having you ask about it," she told Local 5's Eva Andersen. 

"I'm so grateful for the community support, for the community recognition for what our nurses and our health care team does certainly everyday, but in particular during this COVID-19 pandemic," she said.

Hundreds of meals were also given out today as part of Nurses Appreciation Day. Mersim Osmicevic, the owner of Waterloo restaurant Mersim's Kitchen, packed up his food truck and brought it to the hospital. 

He said he's on a mission to support others, just like he was supported when he first moved to America.

"My business is good last two years, and I try to help my community because I came to the United States 21 years ago. The community helped me, now it's time to- now I have time and chance to pay back and I am happy for that," he said.

He handed out 350 free meals on Wednesday. So far he's given out more than 8,000 meals across the country in the last 45 days.

Watch more Local 5 COVID-19 coverage on YouTube:

RELATED: Happy Moments Vol. 31: Spring means new things + a message from Boji the cat

RELATED: DIY with Michele Brown: How to reuse old drawers

Before You Leave, Check This Out