Not All Have Chosen to “Stay the Course”
Several days after 9/11 I decided to make a sales call at a restaurant near the Willow Grove entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I wanted to review a “proposed” ad we had prepared. The parking lot was occupied with nine large utility trucks with raised buckets and large wire spools. All of these monsters had signage indicating that they all were from local utilities.
At first I wasn’t going to stop in. I figured the restaurant had all types of problems and the last thing the owner needed at that moment in time was a pesky salesman. Finally, I decided to just stop in, say hello, and offer to return at a less stressful time. Once inside the dining room I discovered my assumption was totally wrong. There were twenty three men and two women having a great time enjoying lunch. I was relieved and perplexed.
Nazir, the owner, answered my questions before I could even ask them. This group, all volunteers, were on their way to the New York disaster site to offer their assistance in any way they could. They all had left their families and day-to-day activities to help. This team, consisting of whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, was on their way to help their neighbors, despite the potential dangers, hazards and health issues they might face.
When they were about to leave one of the men came forward to pay the bill. Nazir would not take a penny. They argued briefly and finally they thanked him and mentioned that they were going to leave the waitress a significant tip. After they left, Nazir who was from Pakistan born, just smiled and said, “That’s why I love America. Everyone cares for everyone.”
When this caravan, and many more, reached New York and crossed the George Washington Bridge, they often were met with people in the Harlem neighborhood they drove through with cheers, and when traffic slowed, a variety of food packages. Once off the Henry Hudson Parkway they encountered several flag waving, cheering crowds that rushed forward to thank them and often were offered various refreshments. People lined their balconies to cheer them on.
Since 9/11 our nation has faced many natural disasters. We have been hit with hurricanes, flooding, terrible forest fires, brutal cold fronts and droughts which have caused a great deal of pain and suffering. And every time such a nightmare has occurred, Americans of all backgrounds have risen to help. Scenes of each disaster have always been accompanied with pictures of large numbers of Americans, from all walks of life and all parts of the nation, coming to assist. And the embattled residents of these areas, as in New York, cheer them, open their homes to them and make sure they don’t go hungry.
One night when we were watching the news there was a story about a man and his teenage son. They had traveled through the night, some four hundred miles, non-stop, in an RV, towing a motor boat. Their destination was New Orleans and they were on their way, purely as volunteers, to help. They ended up staying for almost three weeks searching for survivors on roof tops and isolated locations. They also served as a “medical taxi” for medical professionals heading to certain flooded emergency destinations.
This current Chinese Virus, which is causing devastation in every part of the world, is no exception. Despite the dangers involved with this highly contagious, often death-causing virus, people have come forward to help. Doctors, nurses, medical technicians, office staff and janitorial personnel have “stayed the course” to help the suffering, often dying, patients. All types of First Responders, too numerous to name, also “stayed the course,” doing everything that was required from them during this nightmare.. Remember, they all did what was needed to be done long before President Trump’s Warp Speed program perfected the life-saving vaccines.
During this past year, while so many were suffering and dying, I was forced, through a variety of health issues, to spend a great deal of time at the Doylestown Hospital. (I have written about this hospital often. It’s a caring, compassionate and extremely competent facility)
As with just about every hospital during this terrible time, Doylestown was overwhelmed, understaffed and facing impossible jobs. Their overload was huge. And yet, through it all, most of these heroes have, and continue to function and perform brilliantly.
As just one illustration of the overwhelming number of tasks and patients they have faced, on one occasion my bed sat in a hallway for many hours because there were no available rooms. I often was moved from my room for various tests. Many of the people who came to move me to the test locations were elderly … very elderly. I felt badly for them thinking they were forced to continue working because they needed the money. Later, I discovered that they were not there to earn money. They were all neighborhood senior citizens who were volunteering to perform simple tasks in order to free up hospital staff to perform other desperately needed functions.
During these past months I’ve spoken often to my son, Eric, in Seattle. Quite honestly, I’ve been concerned. He was putting in his normal administrative functions and then working in the hospital up to an additional six hours every night assisting with the overload conditions the Virus was causing. One night, when he was totally exhausted he snapped, “Dad this is what I trained for. I knew there would be trying and dangerous times. Not all patients have colds or weight problems. I knew going in that there were dangerous moments. But remember, you told me that life would have problems and that, regardless, I should “stay the course.”
So, it’s hats off to all those who have “stayed the course.” They have provided immeasurable assistance to helping us all get through these past challenging months. They have done so at great personal sacrifice and tremendous commitment to their professions and to those whom they are dedicated to serving. We thank you all.
Your opinions are always welcomed.