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Ancaster family shines spotlight on front-line health-care workers

Amid the doom and gloom of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there’s a beam of optimism emanating from the Ancaster Meadowlands.

The Dehal family has created a brightly coloured wooden sign as a way to say “Thank you” to front-line health-care workers. It includes outdoor lighting to make it visible in the evening, when doctors and nurses might be arriving back home following a stress-filled hospital shift. It’s prominently displayed for anyone travelling through the roundabout at Stonehenge and Cloverleaf drives.

All four family members — including parents, Bill and Jazz, and daughters, Juliya, 15, and Ashleen, 19 — worked on the sign. “We do have a lot of doctors and nurses living in the community in Ancaster,” said Bill. “You can’t speak one-on-one and thank the doctors because of the social distancing. But every morning when they go to the hospitals, they look to the left, look to the right and they see that someone cares.”

The Dehals are one of several families who have used some of their recent downtime to create unique tributes to health-care workers. The Dehal family owns multiple businesses in the construction and hotel sectors and enjoys giving back to the community. For the last several years, the family has distributed Christmas gifts to children at McMaster Children’s Hospital. The Dehals have also supported charities like the Good Shepherd and Special Olympics.

In 2018, Jazz was diagnosed with breast cancer and received treatment at Juravinski Cancer Centre. To show their gratitude to health-care workers at Juravinski, the Dehal family has committed to donating 60 massage chairs to the organization. Bill said the Dehals are a proud Sikh family and Sikhism encourages followers to give back to the community.

Bill noted that Sikh temples all over the world allow guests of any race, religion or creed to come and share a meal for free. April is also Sikh Heritage Month in Ontario, although all in-person events are cancelled due to COVID-19.

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