Sara Steuber, left, Jessica Pinkham, center, and Todd Smith of Maine Fire Equipment display discounted medical scrubs Tuesday at the Skowhegan business. The scrubs, nurses’ shoes and other medical equipment are being discounted in recognition of National Nurses Week. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

Nurses Week is held annually nationwide, but this year, with nurses and other health care workers working through the coronavirus pandemic, people are taking the initiative to show their gratitude to the frontline health care providers that have to face the COVID-19 threat as part of their daily employment.

A custom-made wooden bat celebrating National Nurses Week from Quinn Wood Bat Company in Skowhegan on Tuesday at Maine Fire Equipment in Skowhegan. The bat and other gifts came from 37 area businesses in Skowhegan, Madison, Jackman and Edgecomb. Sara Steuber, left, and Jessica Pinkham of Maine Fire Equipment arrange the items. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

Maine Fire Equipment Co. in Skowhegan owner Todd Smith said that each year his business offers 20% off all scrubs, Sanita shoes and medical equipment during Nurses Week.

Annually, the business typically honors nurses with a raffle and prizes donated by other area businesses. This year’s major prize, a trip for two to go whitewater rafting, was donated by Adventure Bound. But because of the pandemic, Smith said, the business is not sure if it will be able to open up this year.

“Nurses Week is one of the things that we always focus on,” Smith said. “Because of the climate that we’re in right now, (Adventure Bound) is uncertain that they’re going to open, so we had to look for a Plan B.”

Smith and his colleagues began reaching out to local businesses, and from there, he said things took off. As of Monday, Smith said that 35 businesses, including 33 that are local, donated in some way.

“We’ve received well over $2,000 in items that people have given to us to help promote Nurses Week,” Smith said.


Sam Hight of Hight Ford said that the decision to donate to Maine Fire Equipment’s raffle was an easy one.

Gift items that will be given to medical professionals celebrating National Nurses Week. The items are seen Tuesday at Maine Fire Equipment in Skowhegan. Gifts were given by 37 area businesses in Skowhegan, Madison, Jackman and Edgecomb. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

“We have always supported medical professionals and first responders,” Hight said. “Todd reached out and asked us to lend a hand, and that’s easy for us. Clearly, it’s never enough for the amount of work that these people put in for us.”

Hight said that at his business, Ford and General Motors are having a promotion where they are offering $500 off the purchase of a new vehicle to medical professionals and emergency responders, which is honored at all five locations.

“We are always trying to come up with a new way to say thank you,” Hight said. “We also decided that for every new and preowned sale for the month of May, we will give (the customer) a $100 gift certificate to put toward a local business.”

“A lot of our customers are friends and first responders, so this is very easy for us, and we feel fortunate that we have a hospital local to us that is also a large employer for the area.”

Smith said that because of the donations received, Maine Fire Equipment Co. with Cruisin Country 93.5, will be giving away multiple prize packages as well as daily drawings and giveaways.


“It’s really blown up bigger than I anticipated,” Smith said. “This is a nationwide recognition, and I think this year, in light of the pandemic that we’re in, people are being more generous. Because it’s becoming a huge community event, to be able to recognize some of these businesses, some of which aren’t even operating, but still be willing to do something for the cause; it’s awesome.”

A sign celebrating National Nurses Week on Tuesday at Maine Fire Equipment in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo


Last Thursday, the Slice Bar in Skowhegan donated 60 large pizzas to the staff at Redington-Fairview General Hospital. The owner, Sean Cates, said that because of the pandemic, his business closed for a month, and since reopening a couple of weeks ago, he has received a tremendous amount of support from the community.

Last weekend, Cates said that the shop, which had hours on Thursdays through Sundays, had to close Sunday because they ran out of food.

“It’s a way for us to give back to the community,” Cates said. “When we opened up, we didn’t know what to expect. A lot of people have been laid off (because of the pandemic) and medical professionals have still had to get up every day and do a risky job. We appreciate everything that they’re doing.”

In Norridgewock, last Wednesday, Oosoola Country Store offered free gas to medical professionals. Sorwar Chow Dhury, the manager of the store, said that over $9,000 in gas was given out that day, and on May 11, the same offer will stand at their Lincoln store.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.