As Thanksgiving approaches, we’ve tried to make a list of people who should be acknowledged during this year of pandemic. It’s impossible because so many people have gone out of their way to help us live as safe and healthy a life as possible in 2020.
We will try to compile a list anyway because many people deserve special recognition. Many who should be on the list are the people who are working in public places while the rest of us have been confined to our household.
Let’s start with all those who are working on the front lines of the health care industry, and everyone who works in a hospital, medical center or doctor’s office. It’s hard to forget the photos that continue to appear on social media of nurses at the end of their long shifts, with weary eyes, slumped shoulders, creases in their skin from wearing a mask and other personal protective equipment for hours. Their work continues without end, and at their own personal risk. We also are learning of others who deserve our thanks, such as the respiratory therapists who are working so closely with COVID-19 patients.
Also on the health care front lines are those who work in nursing homes and group homes for those with disabilities. In many cases, they are the only people with whom the residents have face-to-face contact on a regular basis because they are too susceptible to the dangers posed by the outside world.
Grocery and retail workers have been consistently working to make sure we have what we need to carry on our lives at home. They stock the shelves, check us out at the counter, prepare orders for curbside pickup or delivery and help us find what we need. Then there are the food servers and other restaurant workers, whether indoor or outdoor or serving us at the counter, who also have put themselves at risk. They deserve our thanks.
Educators, school speech and occupational therapists and paraprofessionals are, most often, teaching in virtual classrooms. It’s a difficult, long and sometimes thankless job, but one that will ensure our students are prepared for life after the pandemic. And don’t forget the parents and grandparents who have had to become partners in the teaching of our students.
Thank you to the U.S. Postal Service workers and other delivery workers at every step of the process from ordering a package to delivery to make sure we get our mail and packages. You are keeping us safe.
We are thankful to the libraries, public employees and park district workers who continue to serve our communities.
Let’s not forget the greeters and front-office staff. Too often, they have to deal with people who treat them poorly. Yes, we all are busy and many of us are stressed out trying to navigate this world of pandemic. But we should be treating everyone with respect. One more point: When you call a place of business and get a voicemail, leave a message. Often, the person you are calling is busy, as well, or handling calls from their home. Don’t pester them. Leave a message, be patient and wait for them to get back to you when they have the next opportunity.
We also should acknowledge the 10 million people nationwide who have lost their job because of the pandemic and have not had their job restored or have yet to find new employment. They likely will be needing our help for months to come.
And thank you to the newspaper journalists who are making sure you are kept informed during the pandemic. Many are working from home. A special thank you goes out to the photographers and newspaper carriers who have been working in the community during the entire pandemic.
This list is nowhere near complete. We are sorry for that.
Perhaps you can thank someone who has done you a good deed and isn’t on this list. We will.
One thing is for certain, we all are in this together.
Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you everyone.