El Dorado Springs, Mo. residents hold window parades at quarantined residential care facilities

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EL DORADO SPRINGS, Mo. They brought their dancing shoes, the fire department, truck, home-made signs, costumed children, decorated dogs and even a plastic pony in a red wagon along for the window parade.

But most of all they brought their love.

For two weeks now a group of El Dorado Springs residents have paraded around the windows of the Community Springs Health Care Facility to share greetings and goodwill for elderly patients who are quarantined and cut off from family visits. They added a stop at the nearby El Dorado Springs Residential Care Center this week.

Marcia Daniel normally visits her 91 year-old mom Myrtle every day at Community Springs but now they communicate through sign language. Marcia has signs saying "We love you" and "We are praying for you" while her mom has a sign in the window saying, "Thanks for coming to see us".

"It's really hard," Marcia said. "I cried the first time because it's so hard. I just wanted to grab hold of her and give her a big old hug and kiss. But we can't do that right now."

The inability to touch a loved one makes the reason for this parade difficult to deal with.

"It's just sad to see them in here," said Shelby Dunfield, who brought her six year-old son and four year-old daughter along to light up the faces of the seniors.

There's no doubt the residents appreciated the company even if it was through a glass.

"Oh, it was wonderful," said 64 year-old T.J. Freiburger of El Dorado Springs Residential Care. "They actually thought of us here and that tickles me pink because I've been missing them tremendously."

"So many times people get in a nursing home and nobody cares," added Carol Parmenter, a parade participant who dressed in a cowboy hat while pulling a pink plastic pony in a wagon.

Carol has been bringing real horses to visit seniors at Community Springs for a decade but the wet grounds caused her to bring the plastic one along on this day.

"I don't have children and I don't have a husband so I understand what it's like to be lonely," she said. "So that's why I think it's important to come and visit people."

It was Shannon Mays and Kamber Cain who organized the parade.

"We saw it on the Today Show and I thought there was no reason we can't do this," Mays recalled. "So I called Kamber and said, 'Let's make this happen!'"

"It's just great to know that someone's out there thinking of you," Cain said. "It really does choke you up and it's really special to know that these people are so excited to see you and that you're making their day."

Chris Vickers, the Administrator for Community Springs, says as members of the greatest generation his residents are taking this latest health crisis in-stride.

"I would say they're more concerned than scared," Vickers said. "We had a doctor tell us they've been through more in their lifetime than we'll ever see so they're more used to things like this than we are."

But no matter who you are, it's nice to hear someone offering encouraging words.

"Don't give up! We'll all get through this together," one of the parade members yelled to a woman watching from her window.

Parade participant Ashley Cartwright, who brought her four children along, put it best.

"Evil can be in the world and a virus can take over but there's always the opportunity for love."