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Julie Blankenship is organizing another community prayer for healthcare workers. Blankenship helped organize a community prayer for medical personnel in March.

It’s been almost nine months since the public more than filled the parking lot of Russell Medical with their cars and prayed for those fighting COVID-19.

Julie Blankenship helped organize the March vigil and feels it’s time for it to happen again.

“I was speaking with someone at the hospital and it came up that the staff is tired,” Blankenship said. “We thought it was time to hold another vigil.”

Blankenship said the March vigil in the parking lot of Russell Medical surpassed what she thought it could be.

“The turnout was amazing,” Blankenship said. “Everyone there needs to know we are still thinking of them. The nurses, the doctors, even down to the custodians, they are all around it.”

Blankenship said the increasing cases in the area and state are increasing the likelihood of someone knowing someone affected by COVID-19.

“I had a friend of the family who passed (Wednesday) evening,” Blankenship said. “It’s hitting home around here. It’s hitting a lot of families, not that it wasn’t before. I just think more people are seeing the effects rather than hearing about it.”

Blankenship said she hopes this vigil will remind everyone — healthcare professionals, first responders and the community — we all need to lean on each other, especially during the holiday season.

“It’s been a long several months,” Blankeship said. “I think this can help everyone, but especially those in healthcare.”

Blankenship said plans have changed since March about how to pray for everyone. Blankenship said three to four prayers are being prerecorded and will be broadcast on Praise 88.7 along with some music.

“This way, no one has to get out of their car; nobody has to struggle to hear,” Blankenship said. “They can tune in on the radio. They can tune in at home if they want but we hope they will come to the parking lot of Russell Medical and shine a flashlight through their windshields or turn on their flashers. We just want to pray for those in healthcare.”

Blankenship said the Alexander City Police Department will aid with traffic and parking before the 6 p.m. Tuesday vigil. Blankenship said it’s a small way to show appreciation for those serving on the front lines of this pandemic.

“It’s got to be a lonely job helping treat those with COVID-19,” Blankenship said. “This is a way to show our appreciation. It meant a lot to the staff last time. I hope it will mean a lot this time too.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.