Always Look for the Helpers

That short, 57 second clip of Fred Rogers, resonates with me more today than it ever has. It is a call to action for all of us in challenging times to recognize that there are often selfless people who put a sense of duty and care above all other things in support of their fellow citizen.

All of us remember the sacrafices made by first responders on September 11, 2001. Firefighters charging into a burning building to save lives as people were doing their best to leave. Or the greatest generation, who stepped up to defend democracy and fight a world war, many of whom were kids who lied about their age on their enlistment papers.

Today we have a new battle, a pandemic. Covid-19 has brought about a crisis on a global scale. This may become our new normal, we are a global, interconnected society and we have been warned for many years about the prospects of such a pandemic and how swiftly it can spread.

To date, I am proud of how our political leadership has handled this issue. There is no blueprint for something like this, it requires fast decisions and a willingness to be flexible and change tactics and strategies, there’s no room for ego. Our leaders will make mistakes, but, I believe they’re focused on helping Canadians as best they can. They’re listening to medical experts and scientists and not concerned about polls and tv ratings.

In each and every community throughout Canada we have seen everyday heroes step up.

Some of these heroes are in plain sight.

Our doctors and nurses who are showing up to work every day, caring for the sick. Many being forced ro reuse their personal protective equipment or working without it, putting themselves at greater risk.

The first responders — police, fire and paramedics show up to our homes to deal with emergencies often not knowing what they are walking into. They’re putting our health and safety first.

Grocery clerks, deemed an essential service. Staff that predominently earn minimum wage, who we now count on to show up to work daily so that we may stock up on goods and supplies and minimize the amount of times we go out.

Custodians and janitors who are working in hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential businesses — literally cleaning the surfaces and the environment from possible contamination so to mitigate our risk of contracting this disease.

The helpers are taking so many forms in this pandemic.

They are the friends and family members, and even strangers who check in to see how you are doing. They call or email you to see if you’re ok because they know you are alone.

Manufacturers who instead of laying off their staff that have retooled their operations to produce respirators or masks for our frontline workers.

The landlord who gives their tenant a break on rent without them even asking for it.

They are the people who are placing messages of hope and encouragement on their front lawns or on painted stones on the trail system.

If you look for the helpers. You’ll know that there is hope.

-Fred Rogers

One thing is common about these helpers. It is instinctual to them. They know they have a role to play and without thinking twice, they are there to support their community.

Let us not take their kindness, generosity, and selflessness for granted. Many of them have fear, and may not be handling this pandemic well, but they still show up. Many on the sidelines and not getting the attention and gratitude that they deserve.

We must make an effort to see these helpers. To thank them.

But, when we return to whatever our new normal is, we cannot forget about these helpers. We must be there to support them as they will need time to recover.

When the temporary raise grocery workers are receiving during the pandemic is slated to dissapear let’s not begrudge their desire to see it remain.

When our nurses and doctors ask for greater stockpiles of PPE, let us not think twice about ensuring we have the adequate supplies — because, rest assured, we will face this again.

One thing is clear in all of this. As we emerge from this pandemic, we must recognize that we will lift ourselves out of this together, as a community.

Always look for the helpers. Always do your best to help.

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A business leader who has driven organizational change. A former politician (still recovering) who likes to comment on business, politics and society

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Chris Emanuel

A business leader who has driven organizational change. A former politician (still recovering) who likes to comment on business, politics and society