About 20 vehicles passed through downtown Martinez Sunday night, all playing the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'" on their music systems in a show of support for local "essential" workers. (Photo by Sam Richards_

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Lisa Mills is a nurse, and she said she knows the value of motivation and support.

“People in these essential jobs are pushing through longer shifts now, dealing with more emotional strain,” said Mills, who wanted to show appreciation for those workers — medics, police, fire, restaurant workers, grocery workers and others.

So in the spirit of community efforts including Mill Valley’s nightly “howl” in support of medical workers, and the nightly singing of homebound Italians who nonetheless raise their voices for medical personnel changing shifts nearby, Mills organized a sort of drive-by Sunday serenade as a boost for the essential workers. It was sort of a combination of the howl and the Sunday drive-by of about a dozen Morello Park Elementary School teachers through their students’ neighborhoods, waving to the kids out the windows.

Mills mobilized participants via the Martinez Rants and Raves Facebook page, and asked that all drivers play Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” on car radios or boom boxes.

One of those drivers Sunday was Pat Sobocinski of Martinez. “I love this town — it’s really close-knit, and everybody seems to be helping everybody,” she said. “I’m just doing what I can do.”

A caravan of about 20 vehicles departed the Alhambra High School parking lot on Alhambra Avenue and hit the lightly trafficked streets at about 6:20 p.m. Sunday, with emergency blinkers blinking, windows open and “Don’t Stop Believin’” coming out of virtually all the windows.

The procession headed north past a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District station, the Martinez Police Department station, and through downtown before heading back south.

Mills had also asked people to play “Don’t Stop Believin’” at around 6 p.m. Sunday, even if they weren’t driving. And some did.

“We drove past some people playing the music on their phones,” Mills said.

Among those who joined the motorcade Sunday were Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder and the owners of a downtown restaurant and of a nearby wine bar.

Mills was thrilled with the turnout, and said she wants to make this a weekly event while the coronavirus emergency lasts. And she expects more people to be part of it next week. She has one request, though — more volume.

“I know someone who wants to come next week and they have big speakers,” Mills said. “I don’t know why it wasn’t louder.”