Saugerties salutes front-line workers, high-school athletes and a special birthday

The “finish line” for the vehicle parade featured an American flag hanging from the booms of a construction vehicle. (Photo by David Gordon)

For the third day in a row, fire engines and police cars, sirens blaring, made their way through the village of Saugerties last Sunday to wish Tina Dean a happy birthday, just prior to her 1:30 p.m. birthday party on the front porch of the Ivy Lodge Assisted Living Facility on Main Street in Saugerties. She is 104 years old.

A procession on Friday evenings had honored healthcare workers, emergency personnel, firefighters and police — the people who stayed on the job while most citizens stayed home to avoid catching the coronavirus. Others, not specifically represented in the procession, included sanitation workers, garbage collectors, municipal public-service workers and many others whose jobs are critical to maintaining our infrastructure.

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Tina Dean at her 104th birthday celebration at Ivy Lodge Assisted Living in Saugerties.

On Saturday evening, the high-school athletes, whose entire season was wiped out by the coronavirus, were honored with a similar parade.

Surrounded by balloons and with staff and fellow residents nearby, Dean sat on the porch as a long line of vehicles – private cars, fire trucks, and police vehicles – drove past the facility. As the last of the vehicles left the scene, staff served ice cream cake to Dean and the guests.

As described by her daughter, Debra Laserua, Dean had mo easy life. She was born on May 24, 1916 in Italy. Her mother died just two years later in a Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. She attended school for only two years, and then had to drop out to work in a relative’s bakery.

Then, in 1944, during the Second World War, Tina Dean met an American soldier, fell in love and married him. Back in the USA after the war in 1947, she worked in factories. She and her husband borrowed money to open a delicatessen, which they ran from 1952 to 1977, according to a brief biography her daughter wrote. Laserua said her mother had two children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

At a time when nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly are experiencing deadly viral outbreaks, Ivy Lodge has remained virus-free, according to a written statement from Joan Hyde. Employees’ temperatures are checked daily. They wash themselves and the facility frequently. Social distance is strictly maintained, said Juliet Medaglia, an Ivy Lodge employee.

Visitors are not allowed; Ivy’s birthday was an exception. All visitors remained outside.Chemical will protect playgrounds

A biocide that can keep surfaces virus-free for three to four weeks is being applied to surfaces in the children’s playgrounds, town building and grounds supervisor Greg Chorvas reported at the May 20 meeting of the Saugerties town board.

“Viruses, disease, mold, mildew et cetera are unable to survive,” Chorvas said. Playgrounds in the complex have been treated several times already,  and “as of last week, we did the third go-round and we’ll be finishing Monday on the satellite parks.” The department tries to keep to a three-week schedule.

The surfaces will be tested after three weeks and again after four weeks to see whether it remains effective. Chorvas also described the regular cleaning process of police cars and other vehicles belonging to the town.