Parking lot parade brings joy to assisted living center residents

Executive director lauds community show of support

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Social distancing measures may remain in effect because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn't stop several participants from brightening the day of residents of a Farmington assisted living facility on May 13.

The Bridge at Farmington welcomed the visitors, and their vehicles, for the Parking Lot Love Parade.

Participants circled the building several times, rolling down their windows to wave to the center's residents or display signs. The center's residents have been isolated from visitors since the shutdown began, and the parade was designed to serve as a show of support for them.

Read more:Here are the latest coronavirus updates from San Juan County, Four Corners region

Participants included Chief Steve Hebbe of the Farmington Police Department, members of the Farmington Fire Department and Mayor Nate Duckett.

Ty Tapaha, the executive director at The Bridge, was all smiles about the turnout for the event, which she estimated as at least 30 vehicles.

A participant in the Parking Lot Love Parade waves to residents of The Bridge at Farmington assisted living on May 13, 2020.

"I am overwhelmed," she said. "I'm just unbelievably grateful for the support we have. And our residents have been super gracious for having to be in this situation."

Tapaha noted that none of the center's residents have contracted COVID-19, and she credited her staff for doing an outstanding job of keeping everyone in the facility safe.

"We're a team," she said. "We're making it happen."

Keep reading:Navajo leaders propose framework for coronavirus relief funding

Cecilia Taulbee-Leaming and Monica Leaming of the acoustic music duo the Zia Chicks performed during the event, walking around the building and even approaching the windows of some residents who couldn't venture outside to enjoy the spectacle.

"We absolutely love singing for these wonderful people," Taulbee-Leaming said. "They're always so gracious and receptive."

Residents of The Bridge at Farmington assisted living center wave to participants in the Parking Lot Love Parade on May 13, 2020.

The Zia Chicks perform regularly at the center, and both musicians say the residents make up one of the best audiences in town. Leaming said the group tries to focus on material from the 1940s and 1950s during its performances there. The Bobby Darin tune "Dream Lover" is a favorite of residents, she said.

Taulbee-Leaming said she hoped the duo's performance brought smiles to the faces of caregivers and residents alike at The Bridge.

Others are reading:Motel steps up to assist Sobering Center during the coronavirus pandemic

"The music is crucial to keep spirits up, especially when you're being confined inside," she said. "That can be certain people's only source of entertainment."

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or