The COVID-19 crisis, like all crises, is going to have its share of heroes. Of course it isn’t difficult to identify the obvious heroes.
Start with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Here’s a guy who oozes heroism from his pores. Even President Donald Trump recognizes his charisma. “He doesn’t need security. Everybody loves him,” he said. Trump’s right, at least about Dr. Fauci.
Continuing with the obvious, there’s the medical community. Every doctor, nurse, lab tech, phlebotomist, nurse’s aide, janitor, food preparation, receptionist, admitting, and administrator deserves our admiration, for willingly risking their health every day the virus has not run its course.
Our first responders are heroes every day – virus or no virus. They go to work each day not knowing if what they will face that day will cost them their lives. The odds today, however, are worse because they likely are in contact with infected individuals and they are running short of protective clothing.
But there are more heroes. Seamstresses and hobbyists are sewing protective masks. Retailers, like Harbor Freight are donating masks and protective gloves, normally used by spray painters. Virgin Galactic, Tesla and Dyson are all working to manufacture low-cost ventilators. Whiskey companies have changed direction and are manufacturing hand sanitizers. Companies specializing in 3-D printing are making components for protective masks.
Some employers have found new ways to do business. Perhaps the most inventive is Shon Boulden, owner of the The Lucky Devil Lounge, an Oregon strip club that was closed due to COVID-19 changed its business model and put its dancers to work delivering food. Security personnel drive two topless dancers to your door, with your food. Who says American ingenuity isn’t what it used to be?
My grandson works on his studies from home. His teachers are communicating with him via the Internet. Lessons have been coordinated and he appears to be doing well confined to the house. Those teachers are having to work twice as hard and communicate individually, regularly with each student more often and for longer periods of time. Due to the heroic efforts of area teachers, the coronavirus may be changing the way our students learn in the future.
Local politicians have the opportunity for heroics. The jury is out on the Federal Government’s heroics, since they seem to be relying on states to solve many of the coronavirus problems. States leaders in turn, particularly South Dakota appear to be leaving the most difficult decisions – particularly economic decisions – up to local governments. So it is up to mayors, city councils and county commissions to deal with the bad news of forced business closings and trying to enforce social distancing. It will become clear at election time if voters will reward the political cowardice of federal and state elected officials.
There are also the blood donors, the volunteers at food pantries and homeless shelters. There many heroes who are taking the CDC recommendations seriously and are practicing social distancing not only to protect themselves, but to protect you — and me.
Eras are defined by the events within them. Stories of heroes trickle down through the decades. In Rapid City, many define their lives as they were before and after the 1972 flood. My daughters will someday tell their grandchildren stories of the heroism it took to get through the COVID-19 virus and what life was like before.
Michael Sanborn writes from Rapid City.