Little heroes everywhere

By Rep. Vicki Doudera | Apr 23, 2020

It is easy, in a crisis, to identify the big heroes.  They are the Drs. Shah and Fauci, Govs. Mills, Hogan and Cuomo. We are thankful for them, for their calm and steady leadership in this unprecedented time, for their use of facts and plain language to articulate a path that will guide us through a confusing, novel landscape.

But as I listen to these leaders, I often think about their families, picking up the slack as their loved ones work around the clock, enduring the long hours without them, and, in at least Dr. Fauci’s case, putting their very lives on the line so that critical work can get done.

These husbands, wives and children are among the little heroes, the ones going about their days in a radically different, but determined way. People like our faith leaders, delivering messages of hope amidst bleak statistics, using creativity and technology to reach out to their congregations and beyond. Our postal workers still showing up each day with the mail and greeting us in familiar fashion (albeit behind a protective drape of plastic) as we hand them a package. And our teachers, searching for new ways to keep their students — our future generations — engaged, working to temper the disappointment of missed sporting, music and social activities; field trips, proms and graduations.

A hero is the mom of a developmentally disabled child, or the spouse of a dementia patient, struggling to soothe someone who doesn’t understand a drastically disrupted routine. It’s a cashier in the supermarket still telling us to have a nice day as he sanitizes the conveyor belt between customers. It’s the owner of a small grocery store delivering surprise lunches to emergency workers, and another who makes the difficult decision to close to the public, because he knows his cozy aisles invite a level of socialization that for now just isn’t safe.

It’s the handyman for an aging Mainer who is now also delivering groceries. It’s that same aging Mainer choosing to walk their small dog but stay out of the supermarket. Over and over again, we are all making little choices, moral choices, that make us heroes for one another.

Our health care workers — many of them our friends and neighbors — go to work each day to meet this new challenge in a courageous, head-on fashion. How very blessed and fortunate we are to have the benefit of their compassion and expertise!  Beyond them are the folks disinfecting the doorknobs and cleaning the corridors of our hospitals and medical offices and they, too, are part of the effort to keep our community healthy. We are grateful for their work, as we are for the dedication of our first responders: police, fire and ambulance. They are dealing with so much more now than just the usual routine.

Things are going to get a bit tougher, but we are a strong and caring community. Look for the little heroes and thank them. Together we will navigate this crisis.

Rep. Vicki Doudera is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives. She represents the communities of Camden, Islesboro and Rockport.

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