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FORT WALTON BEACH—Laughs and cheers could be heard outside the Meridian at Westwood Senior Living Community on Tuesday as healthcare professionals chomped down on ice cream.

The afternoon ice cream social was a way to thank the healthcare workers who dedicate their time to help patients, said Melissa Tidwell, a representative from Vitas Healthcare.

“It’s just us giving back to the front-line workers,” Tidwell said.

Vitas along with SunCrest OMNI Home Health sponsored the ice cream social, with help from Rainbow Frost Ice Cream, Inc. The ice cream truck company sold the ice cream to the two healthcare companies for only the cost of the product, Tidwell said.

“They jumped at the opportunity to volunteer,” Tidwell said.

Healthcare workers could choose from a selection of bomb pops or ice cream bars. Lee Ann Mattingly, a wellness nurse at Meridian at Westwood, said she wanted whatever had the most chocolate.

“It’s definitely good for our spirits,” she said.

Violet Emery, the activity director for the Meridian said she went for the watermelon lime bomb pop.

“All of the workers, they really deserve something like this,” she said.

The idea for the ice cream social was a collaboration from Tidwell and Tabitha Ingermann, an account executive for SunCrest OMNI Home Health.

“We were looking for a way to show our appreciation,” Ingermann said.

The ice cream truck also made stops at Westwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Magnolia Medical Clinic.

“We are wanting to celebrate for heroes,” Tidwell said.