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    Wednesday, December 07, 2022

    'We're all in this together': Groton reaches out through video

    Groton — With restrictions and building closures in place, town employees and first responders here say they missed their daily interaction with the community.

    So to reach them, they created a video to send a message that people are not alone.

    Members of the Groton Town Police Department, Groton Senior Center, Groton Public Library, Groton Ambulance Association and Groton Parks and Recreation created the “Groton Cares” video, which they widely shared last week on social media.

    During the video they offer words of encouragement and reminders for people to stay home and wash their hands, along with jokes and a performance by Groton Senior Center staff singing “You Are My Sunshine.” The video is available at bit.ly/gtnotalone.

    “I know times are really tough and uncertain right now, but we’re in this together, and we will get each other through this and we will come out even stronger, so keep those smiles on your faces and we’ll see you all real soon,” Groton Senior Center office assistant Jennifer Meakem says in the video.

    The video was the idea of Heather McClelland, community policing officer with Groton Town police, who appears in the video alongside police service dog McDonald, a black Lab sporting a red bow tie.

    The video interviews were a team effort, coordinated by McClelland, Groton Parks and Recreation community outreach coordinator Jessica Patterson and Meakem, Patterson said. Shawn Greeley and Liam O’Donnell from Groton Municipal Television then created the video.

    The hope is for the effort to grow in the future and involve more town departments and first responders, McClelland said.

    McClelland said the video is a way to reach out to the community, from people living in senior living centers and retirement communities to children who police officers miss seeing in schools on a daily basis.

    “This has been a way for us to do a little bit of something to show that we’re thinking about people and we want them to be good and be safe,” McClelland said.

    "We just want to let the town know that we're all in this together," McClelland added. "We care about our community and we're doing our best to keep everybody safe, and we want everybody to keep themselves safe and help us flatten the curve so we don't have to stay in this as long as people are predicting."

    Patterson said she and other town employees and first responders had been discussing how much they missed seeing the community but wondered if people knew how much they were thinking of them. The video was a way to let people “know that they’re not alone and that somebody’s thinking of them,” she said.

    Meakem said Groton Senior Center staff members have been making calls to seniors — who have become like an extension of their families — to check in and see if there is anything staff can do for them.

    “Putting this video together was a way that we could collectively put a smile on their faces,” Meakem added. “We want them to know that we are in this together and that we are here for them. We can’t wait to see them all again.”

    k.drelich@theday.com

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