Hail to the unsung heroes

By Patrice Lewis

There’s an old story that goes something like this: A group of smart, intelligent, educated people are gathered at a soirée on a hot summer evening. One woman brings along her date, a humble man with a career as a HVAC technician. The intelligentsia treat this solitary blue-collar worker with smarmy condescension for his inability to keep up with the witty banter – until suddenly the air conditioning goes out. Without hesitation, the HVAC man gets to work and soon repairs the issue. The social gathering is saved.

The man certainly couldn’t keep up with the conversation when it centered on 18th-century feminist literature, but by golly he knew how to repair the air conditioner. When the chips were down, who was more important, the literary experts or the technician? Our blue-collar guy was the unsung hero of the soirée.

Now broaden this to our wider society trying to cope with the COVID-19 situation. “The people our loser elite look down upon are saving our bacon,” observes columnist Kurt Schlichter.

Schlichter writes bluntly, “Here are some people who are useless, especially now: Performance artists, diversity consultants, magic crystal healers, sociology TAs, members of the mainstream media, and gender-unspecified entities who brew kale kombucha. Here are some people who matter, especially now: Soldiers, nurses, truckers, cops, the guy who stocks the shelves at Ralphs, farmers, and that dude rebuilding your roof.”

You see, as panic sweeps the nation, the fluff on top is being shorn away and the true backbone of America is revealed. That backbone is comprised of the people whose professions truly keep the nation running. As the pandemic widens, we’re seeing a lot of unsung heroes right now, and I’d like to applaud each and every one of them.

• First and foremost are the medical personnel who are literally putting their lives on the line. Some doctors are writing their wills. Nurses are working around the clock. Aides working in care facilities are still caring for their elderly and vulnerable patients. Lord, thank you for these people.

• Grid operators are turning control centers into campsites for critical personnel. Electricity is something everyone takes for granted until it’s not there. “U.S. electric utilities and other energy companies are preparing to have key personnel remain at power plants and operations centers to ensure the facilities remain online during the coronavirus pandemic,” reports PowerMag. These people deserve our deepest gratitude.

• Law enforcement. These brave men and women are on the front lines of all the ugliness brought out by the coronavirus. This week alone, over 200 members of the NYPD tested positive for the virus. Yet how many of us express our appreciation for their sacrifices?

• Suicide prevention hotline staff. The compassionate individuals who man the lines are hard at work helping people made desolate by the sudden changes taking place in society. Calls have soared. Pray for these people.

• Farmers. Thank God for our nation’s farmers, who face every kind of weather adversity but do their best to feed us. Now they, along with food processors, are facing the coronavirus amidst their ranks, thinning an already thin work force.

• Truckers. Without these dedicated professionals, our stores wouldn’t be stocked. Like many others in the service industry, they are fearful and concerned – not to mention away from their families for long stretches of time. Truckers are working insane hours. Please, thank them.

• Garbage collectors. Truly unsung heroes, these folks are working harder than ever to keep our streets and cities clean, at great personal risk to themselves. How many of us remember to thank them?

• Grocery clerks. These people must deal with the public day in and day out, currently at great personal risk. Don’t yell at them because shelves are empty; thank them for their assistance and bravery in making sure people can buy food and supplies.

There are far more unsung heroes than I can list in this column. These are people putting their health, safety and lives on the lines so the rest of us can have some semblance of comfort, normalcy and health. Don’t take these services for granted, folks. The people providing them deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.

Kurt Schlichter holds nothing back in comparing the elites with the heroes: “Our elite is full of self-important morons who contribute nothing but more dumb in a time when the only thing we have a surplus of is dumb. … But things just got real. We have no time for that crap now. The elite who imagine themselves indispensable to the world that normal people built, run, and defend, are being revealed as useless and ridiculous just when things got serious. We won’t forget how much they suck when this ends. … The real hero is the guy who trucks in a load of whole wheat bread, ribeyes, and low-priced Cabernet to the Trader Joe’s, not the Prius-piloting sissy with a Maddow fetish who shops there. The people our elite laughed at, scoffed at, poked at, are the very people who are going to rescue us from the mess that same elite helped make.”

But unsung heroes aren’t just the hardworking individuals keeping America running. They’re also the kindhearted individuals doing something to make someone’s day brighter during a crisis, and there are literally millions of examples of this.

In fact, acts of selflessness, compassion and gratitude are everywhere. A tearful man holding up a hand-lettered sign at a hospital, thanking medical workers for saving his wife’s life. McDonald’s setting up curbside service at its franchises so truck drivers can get a meal on the go. People leaving care packages for couriers. People making grocery runs for the elderly. People donating money to those in need. People sharing toilet paper with strangers. Companies shifting over to manufacture necessary supplies. Hotels housing medical workers for free. Animal hospitals sending their ventilators to human hospitals. And yes, some celebrities are even offering “relief” concerts to raise money. The examples go on and on.

We all have different gifts. We all need to pitch in and use them during this time of crisis. If you do nothing else during this lockdown, reflect on your blessings. Then join the ranks of unsung heroes and keep America great.

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