Shift change at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital came with an extra dose of gratitude Tuesday evening.

On street corners near the hospital on Michigan Street NE, supporters held up signs that proclaimed in big letters their appreciation for the frontline health care workers:

“You are loved”

“Health care heroes”

“Thank you for being on the front line”

The 15 people on the spontaneous cheer team smiled, waved and called “Thank you” to the men and women in scrubs as they arrived at the hospital for work or headed home.

The show of support came from a Belknap Lookout neighborhood just north of the hospital, Lavonne Schaafsma said.

The neighbors wanted to let the workers know how much they appreciate the dedication, sacrifice and hard work of those caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With friends in health care, and as a psychotherapist, she worries about the challenges and struggles faced by those on the front line.

“My heart goes out to them,” she said. “If this lifts spirits, it will be worth it.”

The supporters stood far apart from each other, following social distancing guidelines. They cheered on the health care workers who walked by.

The workers smiled and nodded. Some took photos and videos of the signs.

The appreciation displayed in the homemade signs means a great deal to those working in health care during a stressful time, said Shawn Ulreich, DSc, RN, chief nurse executive and senior vice president of clinical operations for Spectrum Health.

“It is just so gratifying to see that people in the community recognize that these individuals are on the front line of something we have never seen in our lifetime—and hopefully will never see again,” she said.

“Health care workers by nature don’t expect applause, by any means. The fact that people are reaching out is just heartwarming.”