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Daily Journal
     April 10, 2020      #95-101 KDJ

Gary Moore: Thank you from a grateful nation 

By Gary W. Moore

It’s easy to take some occupations and services for granted until something causes us to take notice and appreciate what they do.

The 9/11 attacks developed a deep and sincere appreciation for police officers and the men and women of the fire department. I think superficially before we watched them in action on 9/11, we knew they put their lives in harm’s way to protect us, but as the twin towers fell, it burned into our collective memories the risks they took and sacrifices they made on that fateful day.

It’s commonplace now to run across a man or woman in military uniform and thank them for their service, as we should. They are both the first line and last line of our defense. They earn and deserve our eternal gratitude.

There is a new kind of war raging across the globe. It’s not against an armed enemy threatening to send missiles into our cities and there’s not an invasion force staging to take away our freedoms. Instead, it’s a microscopic virus with a technical name that a few short months ago we’d never heard but today it’s upon everyone’s lips across the globe.

COVID-19 has created a pandemic the likes of which have not been seen since 1918. It’s global in nature. It harms and kills not because of political or racial differences. It infects us because it can ... and is.

Our troops in uniform may be called into a support mission as this virus continues to expand. The men and women of the police and traditional fire department may also be called into support, but the front line of this war is being fought buy a different uniformed group and the risks are as great as if they were armed and facing a foreign invader.

An army in scrubs …

Their uniforms are referred to as scrubs and the risks they are taking to protect us are as deadly as bullets and bombs. Today, this battle is being fought and will ultimately be won by medical technicians, nurses and doctors and all those in the healthcare system that support them.

We are fortunate that the Kankakee River Valley has two outstanding hospitals. My illness has brought me in contact with Riverside, I also know St. Mary’s, the hospital where I was born, is doing and equally exceptional job.

I’m blessed to have as my family doctor, a man who is also head of internal medicine at Riverside Medical Center. He hasn’t had a day off in a long time. I’m currently having a health issue unrelated to COVID-19 and he answers my emails and returns phone calls late at night, after he’s spent 12 or more hours at the hospital. Dr. Moss is a leader and a hero in this war.

A good friend of mine is CEO of the same hospital. He’s working around the clock in a community that is suddenly exploding with new cases. I sent Phil Kambic a text a few days ago to express my gratitude and encourage him. He’s a great CEO and is providing the leadership we need in this battle, as are many others.

The infantry in this fight, and those who are at most risk are the techs and nurses. They are in close contact with the enemy trying to take over our bodies. While we are all trying to self-quarantine and social distance ourselves from those infected, our nurses and techs are rushing in to take their blood pressures, not because it is their job but because it is their calling. I think it takes a special type of bravery and dedication to put on those scrubs and walk into the healthcare facility armed only with a stethoscope and a mask. I’m afraid that once this crisis has come to an end, the sacrifice made by our healthcare workers may potentially be shocking. We already owe them a debt we can never repay.

I spoke with Maddie Kaufman, a local RN at my cancer center. I asked her if she was afraid. She responded, “I listen to the news and come to work fearful that we will not have the supplies we need and not enough beds. So far, we do. My greatest fear is of course becoming infected. I cannot treat and serve you if I am in the bed next to you.”

I was struck by the dedication of this married RN with two little girls at home. Her fear is that she may not be able to take care of her patients. I’m humbled and touched by her dedication. Thank you, Maddie, and all those who serve with you.

So once social distancing is a distant memory, please give your doctor, nurse, tech and support staff a hug and a hearty thank you. Their dedication and bravery are inspirational.

They deserve no less.

Gary W. Moore is a freelance columnist, speaker and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” He can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com

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Gary W. Moore
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