About a dozen people holding handmade signs along Milton’s Route 7 on Saturday morning were greeted with honks, waves and smiles.
“We appreciate our teachers,” read one sign. “We love policemen” another.
Though some of these signs might be spotted at political rallies, the demonstration in front of Hannaford and Dunkin Donuts was anything but.
“Not a protest,” read one side of Miltonian Karlo Salminen’s sign. The other: “A ‘professed’ we [heart] Milton.”
The public show of thanks was organized by the Vermont Supernatural School of Ministry, a nine-month training school based out of Williston’s Vibrant Church. The program follows a national model that started in Redding, Calif.
Six members from Milton’s United Church are currently enrolled, said Donna Pollock, the church’s assistant pastor. Her sign was all-encompassing: “We [heart] U,” it read with a giant yellow smiley face with heart eyes.
Georgette Provencher, a Milton resident, held a banner thanking all emergency service members. She said her participation was part of the church’s effort to “bring heaven to earth” by recognizing people who aren’t normally thanked.
“There isn’t anyone more important than anyone else,” Provencher said, pointing out the signs supporting veterans and workers with special needs.
Asked why Milton, Provencher responded simply, “Why not! We go wherever.”
“Everyone deserves to be thanked,” her co-demonstrator Sandy Jenkins chimed in.
Other signs thanked town managers and town clerks. Pollock said the timing was great right after Town Meeting but was entirely coincidental. The group aims for monthly outreach efforts, most recently hosting a sign wave in South Burlington last fall.
The response was widely positive in Milton, Pollock said.
“Lots of waves, thumbs up, cars honking. It’s been fun,” she said. “One of the cars drove by, and the passenger flashed his badge at us. He was one of the police officers from town, so that was really cool.”
Down near the four-way intersection with Centre Drive, Salminen enthusiastically held out his tri-fold sign, the “Not a protest” side displayed for drivers stopped at the red light. Salminen delighted in seeing their reactions before they drove away.
“I could do this every Saturday,” he said, laughing, the growl of an engine accelerating down Route 7. “I’m in my element.”