The LOU Community is full of Coronavirus Heroes

Published 8:00 am Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Coronavirus, COVID-19.  

The entire world has been brought to its knees because of the first pandemic since 1918.  

The United States is known for its resilience. Whether it was the response after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 or after the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001, the country got off the mat and answered the bell.  

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The result will be no different in 2020, and this is because of people throughout communities across the nation that opened up their heart and showed the ultimate act of kindness – sacrifice.   

From those on the front lines in hospitals and urgent care centers, to food banks, to knitting groups, the Lafayette-Oxford-University Community is full of Coronavirus Heroes.   

Sacrifice can be shown in different ways. One way is risking one’s health by taking the fight to COVID-19, as healthcare workers are tirelessly combating the deadly virus and working nearly 24-hour shifts so those outside the hospital walls can remain safe.   

Doctors and nurses are risking their lives to protect your loved ones who may have contracted this awful disease. Spending time with them when you are not able to, providing care and being there for them.  

Yes, some may say, “Well, this is what they signed up for. What they went to all those years of school for,” and you are right.  

They did sign up to be those who take care of the sick. But nobody enters medical school knowing one day a pandemic will strike, crippling the healthcare system and rending them nearly useless, yet never giving up to keep your mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or grandparents safe.   

For that, they are the true heroes.  

Then, there are the everyday heroes who are doing their part to help people get by and get through this world crisis until it passes.   

Grocery stores have remained open, providing a food supply on a daily basis and taking a risk of potentially contracting the virus just to make sure you are able to put food on the dinner table for your family.   

It is the local grocers, like Larson’s CashSaver, that are having to stay open, mostly to keep their business afloat, but also because they know those people who might be struggling. They could be neighbors or friends of their kids. All local businesses are the lifeblood of a community, and the ones that have been able to stay open, due to being labeled “essential” by local, state and federal leaders, are doing their best to keep the heart of each community pumping until cities are reopened once again. 

Then, there are the residents of the LOU Community who are doing their part in helping to flatten the curve or make this “new normal” as normal as possible until we can return to the old normal. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) became a valuable resource for healthcare workers, and the need for them to have as many of the N95 masks as possible was priority number one.  

Knowing the search for proper masks would be as daunting as trying to find rolls of toilet paper, community members came together to provide their own masks.  Members of an Oxford knitting group began making masks for vulnerable members of the community who were not able to venture outside to stores and purchase their own.  

Local leaders came together to make sure those residents who could not purchase hand sanitizer or were unable find any on store shelves were covered by providing free bottles thanks to Jackson-based Cathead Vodka. Taylor-based gin distillery Wonderbird Spirits also turned to the hand sanitizer business and manufactured their own to provide to local healthcare facilities and other first responders.  

With schools closed and social distancing guidelines keeping children from seeing their friends on a daily basis for the first time in their lives, finding ways to lift their spirits has also become a goal. Parents, who in turn have become homeschool teachers by default, have come up with creative ideas, such as a neighborhood social distance zoo or placing bears in their windows for kids to find as they drive by.  

Even though the world is at a proverbial standstill, the calendar has not stopped. Every day, people are still having birthdays, but the traditional birthday party has been replaced with car parades. Friends, family and even local law enforcement line up and drive by the person’s home in cars decorated with signs, streamers and balloons, honking and shouting to provide some happiness on the special day. 

These are strange and unprecedented times, but people have adapted and overcome. The crisis will pass, events will resume again and the streets of the Downtown Square will be filled with people on Friday nights. When that day comes, the people who helped get us there should not be forgotten.  

We are doing our part in making sure that does not happen with this special look at the Coronavirus Heroes.