We pass by strangers on the street every day, usually unaware of what they do for a living. But some of them could be helping to protect our wellbeing, or save our sanity, amidst an unprecedented pandemic.
So this week, I’d like to shine a light on some of those generally under-the-radar people who are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in Fort Bend County and encourage our readers to do the same. In this week’s paper, you’ll read firsthand accounts from a medical professional, grocery store worker, doctor and firefighter who are part of our community.
Dr. Kabir Rezvankhoo’s view is from the Intensive Care Unit at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, where he has dealt with severe cases of COVID-19. Betty Granados, an Alvin resident who considers the Missouri City community a second home, is making sure all surfaces are clean at the H-E-B in Sienna Plantation as part of what she feels is a duty to put others’ needs ahead of her own.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Gregory Suter is patrolling the neighborhoods with the Sugar Land Police Department, which he says is taking a number of precautionary measures and doing its best to maintain a personal connection with residents while also keeping them safe. Additionally, a member of the Stafford Fire Department has been up close and personal on several calls for residents who wound up having COVID-19, bringing the pandemic close to home.
As of Monday, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus had infected at least 950 people in Fort Bend County and caused the deaths of at least 22. And yet, these brave men and women are diving headfirst into the fray. Their actions are worthy of admiration and recognition because they are willingly putting themselves – and their own loved ones – at risk so others can be less so.
They’re experiencing this firsthand so that many of those residents they serve can be spared from it. So let’s show them our appreciation in ways that will have impacts extending far beyond the end of the COVID-19 pandemic – which is hopefully soon rather than later.
There will be public announcements and Facebook posts thanking employees like them for their work – but for all their good intentions, those gestures simply feel too impersonal to me. We need to do more when it’s feasible to do so – because these men and women deserve so much more that cookie-cutter celebrations.
One example of such gestures will be present in this week’s edition. Darian Butler of DB Delectables bakery in Missouri City teamed up with an old high school friend earlier this month to provide about 700 cookies for the medical staff at CHI St. Luke’s Hospital in Sugar Land as a “thank you” for their service and a reminder that they’re not in it alone.
But our gestures don’t necessarily need to be grandiose, either. It could be something such as donating N95 masks and other personal protection equipment for first responders to wear when interacting with potentially infected patients.
Or, it could be a simple daily wave and smile at your local police officer patrolling your neighborhood. I’ve always felt that the most meaningful gestures come from the heart. So do what comes naturally.
If you’re artistically inclined, maybe create some signage to place in your front yard so any officer patrolling can see it and be uplifted in their fight.
Should you be more of a tangible, face-to-face kind of person, maybe thank that neighbor you know works at a local grocery store or in the medical field. All while practicing social distancing, of course.
Whatever it is that inspires you, I’d ask for all of our readers this week to consider taking some sort of action to recognize the responders who have become so crucial in fighting COVID-19 in our own communities.
After all, with those protective gowns billowing behind them like capes, they may as well be our superheroes during this crisis.