A Thank You to Our First Responders
By Brigid Mullen
As everyone is undoubtedly aware, about halfway through March of this past year our world was turned upside down. Schools closed, prompting us to continue online, movie theaters closed, our governor gave an order to stay at home. Over the course of a few days, life for the average person went from normal to being flipped on its head, due to the global pandemic of the coronavirus. But throughout all of this, working professionals deemed essential in this crisis continued to do their jobs. These workers have kept their heads up and kept their cool during this catastrophe, and have served as a great example for the rest of us to follow. These doctors, nurses, emergency responders, members of law enforcement, and everyone else who has been serving others on the frontlines during this unprecedented time deserve all the credit and thanks in the world.
Many first responders have understandably expressed concern about the constant threat of exposure to COVID-19, and the dangers it poses to them and their families. Jennifer Aumanstal, a nurse at St Mary’s, explained, “We’re coming in everyday. We’re potentially exposing ourselves and then we’re going home and putting our families at risk as well.” Evan Morgan, a paramedic, revealed how those in his profession were in danger of exposure to COVID-19. “I’ve made a lot of visits to assisted living facilities where there are known COVID-19 positive residents. We have transported some of these patients to local hospitals which requires us to be in close proximity to them (patient care in the back of an ambulance doesn’t really allow for social distancing). Finally, when we arrive at the hospital, there is additional potential exposure,” he said. Despite the dangers, these workers stay professional, and remain at work, putting others’ well being and safety in front of their own.
Ever since the pandemic changed our regular ways of life, there has been a great amount of public support for first responders. Whether it’s posts on social media, sidewalk and window drawings, or monetary donations, acts of kindness towards essential workers from everyday citizens have increased a hundredfold since the beginning of this pandemic. Support from the government has varied based on different essential industries. Morgan, for example, has seen great assistance from authorities, stating that he and his coworkers “have been provided with all the personal protective equipment and current information we need to stay safe.”
Eventually of course, this crisis is going to end. Morgan stated that once things are back to normal, he is most looking forward to everyday things, such as “Seeing friends and family. Having people over. Allowing my son to hang out with his buddies… I could go on and on.” Hopefully, public appreciation and respect for these amazing workers will not disappear once things return to the status quo. In the meantime, we have to pull together to get through this time of strife and struggle. Following Morgan’s advice, all of us non-essential workers should stay at home for now, and “Take care of yourselves. Keep in touch with friends and family. Check in on your elderly neighbors. Spend time outdoors.” We’re living in a very scary time, and it’s never been more important to show our appreciation and thanks for those putting themselves at risk for us.