To say we are going through ‘difficult times’ is an understatement of Biblical proportions. Our nation – and the world – has been through wars, The Great Depression and natural disasters. But we’ve never been through anything remotely like this.
Each day, every day, we’re overwhelmed by the latest statistics – the rising infection and death rates, the shortage of ICU hospital beds, respirators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders.
Perhaps worst of all, many say the worst is yet to come -- that the infection rate and the mortality rate from COVID-19 is far from having peaked.
And so, many of us sit in our homes with our spouse and our children or all alone, feeling isolated from coworkers and friends, in some cases no longer having a job and having to rely on the government to save us from financial ruin, with no way of knowing when it will end.
The first paragraph of Charles Dicken’s towering novel, A Tale of Two Cities, contains the line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It’s my belief that we should change that line to describe these times by saying, “These are the worst of times, these are the best of times.”
Precisely why these are the worst of times needs no further explanation. We all know that deal. But in a very real sense, if we look hard enough, we will discover that these are also the best of times. Without regard to political persuasion, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion or lack of religion, in a very real sense, we have become one, united in our fears, our grief and collective lack of stability.
There is something else that unites us. Out of this tragedy, because of this beast that has descended upon us, we are gradually – and sometimes not so gradually – seeing our best selves emerging. We are seeing a coming together for a common purpose that we have not seen since those towers fell and we ceased to be Democrats or Republicans or Caucasians or African-Americans or Native Americans or Asians or men or women or gays or straights or Christians, Jews, Muslims or atheists. We are seeing a coming together for a common purpose in which we are all just people.
We are finding, because of this tragedy, that we are vastly more alike than we are different. We all care about our loved ones and friends. We all mourn and worry about lost jobs and lost wages. Many of us offer prayers; all hope for a better time. And some of us do something about it. Those who do something about it are heroes – COVID-19 Heroes.
The COVID-19 Heroes I’m talking about are the unsung heroes, the people doing Good for no other reason than that they want to do good; they need to do good.
They get out of their chairs, out of their confinement, out of their comfort zone and they get into the trenches and into the front lines. It’s the former Duneland school bus driver who now works to provide hundreds of curbside pick-up breakfasts and lunches for at-need children. It’s the woman in Valpo who’s not just content that she was blessed to still have a job because she’s in an essential-need job, but instead, after her workday has ended, volunteers to assist medical workers who are taking COVID-19 tests. It’s the 16-year-old high school girl in Kouts who bundled up her 3D printer and took it to an EMS company that she learned is printing 3D protective masks for those who need them and when her mother asked her how she was going to do her project for Science Club without her printer that teenage girl simply replied, “Mom, I’ll make it with my hands.”
COVID-19 Heroes are all around us. They’re our neighbors, our friends, our family, our coworkers who are now working at home, cops, firemen and just ordinary people doing extraordinary things on a daily basis. In the purest sense, they are heroes.
I want to write a series of articles about these COVID-19 Heroes, not because they would want me to do this but because people need to know about them and, in so knowing, perhaps will be inspired to become heroes themselves.
It’s a long, long row to safety and through turbulent and dark waters. But we will make it because, finding ourselves in the same rowboat, we have come together. We are strong and we are stronger together. And we are fortunate to have heroes in our midst, with an army more of them just waiting to step forward. I hope these stories will inspire people to do just that.
If you know a COVID-19 Hero who not only deserves recognition but can also serve as a role model for our community, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll read every email and I’ll write stories about many who you bring to my attention, in so doing bringing them to the attention of many others.
And I’ll feel blessed to do so…