HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- An auto salesman and an artist, who were strangers prior to the global coronavirus pandemic, are teaming up to show support for frontline health care workers. They produced buttons that say “Our Heroes, We Thank You” and are passing them out for free to those who want them.
Mike Secours, who works at McGeorge Toyota on West Broad Street, said the idea popped into his head one night a few weeks back.
“You can’t turn on the TV without seeing how hard of a time they’re having right now," he said. "Whether it be PPE or just mass numbers of people they’re having to deal with and how they’re putting themselves in harm's way and their families."
After coming up with a few designs for the buttons, Secours needed a way to make them. He happened to find local artist Jennifer Yane during his initial search online. Yane runs “Jennifer Unlimited” out of her Henrico home and has been producing custom-designed buttons there since 1984.
“He came up with this idea, and it’s right on time. It often works that way with buttons,” she said.
Since businesses across the region are shut down and a stay at home order in effect, it had been weeks since Yanes had a customer reach out.
“Ironically, she mentioned that hasn’t had any work in about three weeks,” Secours said. “It felt good to help her in some small way, too.”
“Yeah, I thought my button business was gone. Because where are people going to congregate? You wear buttons for people to see,” she said. “It means some income, but it also means my buttons are out there doing their work helping people, which is what they’ve always been doing.”
Secours ordered 500 buttons and has been handing them out to customers over the past few days. He plans on doing another round of orders soon.
“I have no plans of selling these, I just got them and thought I’d pass them out,” he said. “ “I actually had a customer yesterday who is a retired nurse. She saw them on my desk, loved it.”
Beyond thanking healthcare professionals for the long, grueling hours they are putting in to battle COVID-19, Secours has a personal reason for his efforts. His sister Anne passed away a few years and worked as a nurse for many years.
“We were best buddies,” he said of his sister. “I just felt like I would like to find some little something that would say thank you” to all healthcare workers.
Secours said anyone who wants a button can stop by McGeorge Toyota and pick one up from him while his current supply lasts. You can also send him and email at email@example.com.
Yane said she will fill any additional orders for the buttons designed by Secours or make a different design for those who want one. You can find out more information on her website. She suggests calling the number on her website to inquire about both.
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