You cannot begin a note thanking our local heroes without acknowledging our truly heroic frontline healthcare workers. Every day, they risk their lives, and endure painful time away from their children in the relentless pursuit of keeping our community safe. When this crisis passes – and it will pass – it is these heroes who will come to epitomize our response.
However, as the days in our isolation people began to realize that there were other heroes emerging alongside front-line healthcare staff; unsung heroes whose faces we knew. Our neighbours who staffed our grocery stores, who collected our waste, who kept our gas stations open and who provided a myriad of services that allowed us to remain safe in our homes every day while they risked health and life to keep our needs met. I would name them all if I could, but we know them and I hope you’re taking the time to give them the deeply heartfelt “thank you, I appreciate your courage” when you see them fulfilling these daily tasks so many of us took for granted for so long.
In our community we have extraordinary examples. For years, I have always believed we must support our local businesses and now COVID-19 has taught us why. When we are at our weakest, it’s our local businesses who have refused to take advantage of us but instead rose to the occasion by offering their services in times of need, often at great expense to themselves. When I first heard that pharmacies in Ontario were going to start charging quickly growing dispensing fees, I picked up the phone and called our local businesses.
It was pharmacies like Simpson’s who told me they would reject this opportunity and instead put community first to help our seniors. Everywhere I have called in Niagara-on-the-Lake, businesses have realized our population remains specifically at risk, and they have stepped up to the plate, to come together and to work to shield us from the worst effects of COVID-19.
Shortly before this began, there was a competition to see which Canadian hero belonged on our five dollar bill – I wonder if it’s too late to nominate the healthcare workers, the small businesses and all those who wake up every morning and still drive to work from NOTL?
Together, we’ll get through this!