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Scary times can bring out the best in people

Getty Images/iStockphoto/Natnan Srisuwan Lending a helping hand
Where there are helpers, there is hope.

The current age that we live can seem pretty scary, and there are a lot of uncertainties.

Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers, said his mother would say at the time of a disaster or tragedy, to look for the helpers. "No matter how scary the times are, there will always be helpers," she would tell him. He added to his mother's insightfulness, "if you look for the helpers, you will know there is hope."

As we all know, this is not a beautiful day in the neighborhood as COVID-19 has taught us the new phrase of "social distancing," and to stay home if at all possible. Not so beautiful, but you will still find helpers.

I will shoot short of calling anyone a "hero" during these times, as that label should be reserved for those in military battle. Rather, let's focus on the helpers who have come forward to do the job that needs to be done.

Coming forward may also be an exaggeration, as these people or professions I wish to highlight are just doing what they do. Their efforts in these times are no different than their normal daily work.

Doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians are always on the frontlines, providing our population the best measures to keep them safe and healthy, and COVID-19 has emphasized that even more. Being on the frontlines, often puts them in the bullseye of they themselves catching the contagion, in this case COVID-19. Our police officers and firefighters also fall into this grouping as those who continually work to keep us safe. Now their normal calls will require different measures to keep them safe while protecting us.

As more information evolves on this virus, it has been determined that it is best to avoid mass assemblies, now the level is down to 10 people or fewer. With that in mind, schools have shut down for the time being, some even through the remainder of the school year. This does not mean that summer vacation starts early. Being married to an elementary teacher, I see firsthand the day-in, day-out long hours that are put in to educate our youth. That is the SOP during a normal school year.

As we all know, or are quickly learning, "normal" is out the window, or there is a new normal.

Teachers are busy formulating lesson plans to best engage their students, though there will not face-to-face instruction. Some of this is coming in the form of paper homework mailed out to students, or online lessons. The online option may not be viable, as the disparity between students who may not have a computer at home or may live in an area where broadband connectivity does not provide a reliable internet connection.

In addition to schools providing a learning environment for our youth, sadly schools are also sometimes a haven for school children, providing them the only normalcy they may have in their life. Sometimes, the breakfast and lunch at schools are the only two meals the students receive on a daily basis.

To make sure students do not go hungry, school cooks are continuing their daily routine of creating meals, meals that students' families will need to pick up at the school, or in some cases deliveries have been arranged. Restaurants have also stepped up to make meals available for school-aged children, again to be picked up curbside or through drive-thru.

To make sure the school children, and all of us stay fed, we really realize how much we need farmers. One walk through grocery stores, it's painful and unbelievable to see the empty shelves and meat cases. Empty shelves one day will be restocked, yes thanks to those working in the retail markets, but also because of the farmers who continue to produce wholesome, healthy food for public consumption.

Farmers can produce the best food for consumers, but unless there is direct marketing, that food will not reach consumers if not for the work of our truckers. Truckers, the same people who are often cursed for taking up the highways and causing "inconveniences" for other motorists trying to work their way around the 18-wheelers, are the ones delivering that much-needed food to restock the shelves.

All of these helpers are stepping up by doing what they do every day, and a lot of these tasks are often maligned day-in and day-out. These times should cause us to pause and gain a greater appreciation for those who go about their livelihood for the good of the nation.

It's time we all step up and give greater respect to all of these helpers, for where there are helpers, there is hope.

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