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Urbandale Business Owner Ties Ribbons Around Trees at Broadlawns to Thank Healthcare Workers

Sometimes feeling blue isn't a bad thing. 

Kimberly Baeth is embracing the color as a way to show her appreciation for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, the Urbandale business owner decorated trees around Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines with blue ribbons, which are a symbol of support for first responders and health care professionals.

Wearing a mask, she tied the ribbons securely and then put a large sign thanking the workers on one of the building's large front windows. She didn't enter the building and put the ribbons up with only a few helpers staying six feet apart.

"Every time you turn on the news it seems like it's negative and we need more positive things," she said. "Hopefully when you see a ribbon or a light on or a positive note or a thank you, you think positive thoughts instead of negative."

She said others can show support by putting ribbons in their windows or outside businesses to show their support for essential workers.

"Stay positive and look for the good in things and help how you can is the important message," she said. "Some people have time, some people have money, some people have neither or both — just do what you can."

Katie Wengert, executive director of the Broadlawns Medical Center Foundation, said she's thankful for Baeth's efforts to lift up the workers.

"It’s great for them to feel appreciated," Wengert said. "I think little acts of kindness go a long for everybody, not just healthcare workers. There’s a lot of uncertainty and I think small measures of appreciation go a long way."

Baeth is used to cutting ribbons to celebrate new businesses as the owner of Golden Openings. But recently many of the events booked with her business have been canceled and she's had to lay off employees. 

"It’s almost like everything we did has been undone," she said. "We're used to bringing in $8,000 to $10,000 a day and it's been nothing." 

She's confident her business, and others, will land on their feet, but for now, she's working to inspire hope however possible. 

"It's something that when they come and go, it reminds them that they are keeping the world going in this crazy time," she said.
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