Fireman Bill Poiry’s bagpipes lift spirits at Riverview Campus

May 7, 2020 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Fireman and EMT Bill Poiry of the Allen Clay Joint Fire District usually plays his bagpipes at weddings and funerals. This week, Poiry had the pleasant task of entertaining the residents and staff at the Riverview Healthcare Campus. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

BY D’ARCY EGAN

Visitors are more than rare at Riverview Healthcare Campus, especially now with fears of the COVID-19 pandemic which has restricted all but essential personnel from going into Ottawa County’s premier nursing home on the Portage River in Oak Harbor. Fireman Bill Poiry of Oak Harbor earned a lot of smiles on Friday when he entertained residents and staff with his bagpipes.

Poiry, and his wife, Tina, could not go into the Riverview complex, but the sound of Poiry’s bagpipes carried very well on a bright, sunny day. The performance brought smiling faces to watch and listen behind Riverview’s windows and glass doors, with a lot of happy men and women needing canes and walkers to enjoy the special party.

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept families and friends from visiting the sparkling Riverview Campus, the focus of a recent $10 million renovation. It was apropos that a bagpiper, playing the instrument that traditionally led warriors into battle, was challenging the coronavirus blues.

“I’ve only been playing the bagpipes for about a year,” said Poiry, “and pretty lucky to be able to join the Black Swamp Pipes and Drums, a firehouse-based mission.”

Performing with pipe major Matt Hart and drum sergeant Fred Kyle, “To Honor our Fallen” their band has played for fallen firefighters, EMS and police. And, of course, weddings and funerals.”

“During this pandemic, bagpipers around the world are again playing for all of the warriors in this battle,” said Poiry.

The Riverview Healthcare Campus staff receives frequent updates on the virus, how it spreads and the appropriate use for PPE, the equipment needed to fight the battle. The special education is done both in person, in their work areas in small groups, as well as online, said Administrator Kendra German, the Long Term Care/Special Facilities Liaison for the Ottawa County State of Emergency for COVID-19.

While nursing homes are especially susceptible to the virus, the Riverview Campus has had no confirmed, suspected or probable cases of COVID-19. It continues to carefully monitor staff coming into work, as well as residents, for any respiratory signs and symptoms, as well as fever.

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