Ribbons for heroes: Birmingham school salutes those on pandemic front line

Word spread fast about the decorated fence that surrounds Quarton Elementary School in Birmingham.

"I was among some of the first people to do it, I told my friends about it they are doing it too and they are telling their friends about it as well," Kasey Chinonis said.

Knowing how much students missed being together - two teachers came up with an idea. Anyone can come to the school and tie a ribbon on the fence to honor a hero, or make a wish for someone they know. It is a simple gesture that is catching on.

"Making a wish to spread prayers and thoughts to the people that are working on the front lines and all the essential workers and just to spread the Quarton love that is so special," said Liz Chinonis.

"I thought it was really cool how they were honoring people on front line and to bring the community together," Kasey said. "I saw everyone did their own ribbon. It was really cool to see people coming together to for this."

Liz and Kasey Chinonis are encouraging other parents and kids to do the same. Liz - a nurse herself - tied a ribbon for two nurses and doctors - close family friends - who are risking their lives, to save others.

"We know they are right in the thick of it, I know things have slowed down now but I know for a period of time things had to have been very scary and very traumatic," Liz said. "I am honored to know them and wish for their safety, as well as all the others."

It would have been Kasey's last year at Quarton and Liz's last child to graduate from the elementary school like so many families - a bittersweet time as they will miss closing out Kasey's final year together. 

But looking at the ribbons decorating the fence shows how despite the physical separation, the bond of the Quarton community is still strong. 

"It makes us realize how important our teachers are, how valuable they are, as well as front line workers and essential workers," Liz said. "I think it made us all take a step back and really appreciate them."

"It just makes me feel good I know people are wishing for people out there and everyone is going through the same thing now - feels together as a community," Kasey said.