People.com Human Interest Meet the Father-Daughter Bagpipers Playing Nightly amid the Pandemic: 'Something to Smile About' "It's a way to show our support for everyone who's trying to help in this crisis," Heather Irwin tells PEOPLE By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall Sandra Sobieraj Westfall Sandra Sobieraj Westfall is the White House and National Political Correspondent for PEOPLE. She also writes for and occasionally senior edits the magazine's Crime section and the brand's Let's Talk About It mental health series. Westfall joined PEOPLE in 2003 as Washington Bureau Chief and specializes in bringing readers inside the personal experience of political life. She twice won the White House Correspondents' Association Merriman-Smith Award for excellence in presidential reporting under deadline pressure (for her inside-the-room election night exclusives on the "snippy" phone call between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000; and the hear-a-pin-drop silent moment in 2008 when Barack Obama, holding his mother-in-law's hand, took in the news that he would be America's first Black president). Prior to joining PEOPLE, Westfall was a White House Correspondent for The Associated Press after beginning her career in Congress, where she wrote legislation on women's health, mental health, and domestic violence. A native of Rochester, New York, she received her Bachelor's degree in politics (with a certificate in Latin American studies) from Princeton University, and a Master's degree in journalism from Stanford University. People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 16, 2020 12:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Courtesy Lisa Irwin Every evening after watching his daughter Nicole, 28, leave for her night shift as an ICU nurse, retired firefighter Wayne Irwin and his younger daughter Heather tuck their bagpipes under their arms and head out themselves. Repurposing a centuries-old tradition for the Great Highland bagpipe, which has played soldiers into battle since the late 18th century, the father-daughter duo have performed a nightly “Sunset Solidarity” concert on sidewalks around their Downers Grove, Illinois, neighborhood since April 2. “It’s a way to show our support for everyone who’s trying to help in this crisis,” says Heather, 24, a college student who is self-isolating at home with her parents and older sister. “She is exposed to everything and you just never know,” Heather says of Nicole. Husband Surprises Wife of 63 Years on Her Birthday After Being Separated by Coronavirus Pandemic Wayne, 58, formed a pipe band with former colleagues at the Naperville Fire Department after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. “We played at funerals for fallen firefighters and military personnel,” he recalls. He got Healther started on the bagpipes when she was 10. For more heroes fighting coronavirus, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here. RELATED VIDEO: Christ The Redeemer Statue Pays Tribute to Healthcare Workers Across the Globe “Now, Heather and I play to give people something to smile about,” he adds. Mission accomplished, says Downers Grove stay-at-home mom Denise Ross. After a “really rough” day of struggling to keep her 4-year-old daughter Margaret happily busy inside, “This music from somewhere just floated through the open window and it was magical,” says Ross. “You feel so alone right now — and scared. But to hear that hauntingly beautiful music, it was a moment of connection.” As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.