Chesney Guest Column: Giving Thanks

The holiday season reminds us of all the blessings for which we are thankful and filled with gratitude. If there is one group of people that stand tallest in deserving our gratitude in 2020, it is frontline healthcare workers.  The first responders, nurses, doctors, mental health professionals, public health administrators and many others deserve our sincere thanks and praise.  They report to work every day, understanding the risks to themselves and their families, to help us and our families.

We are obliged to all essential workers.  Educators, pharmacy employees, grocery store employees, truckers, prison guards, utility professionals and many others show up to work to keep us all safe, enriched and as comfortable as possible while we watch out for our families and neighbors and try our best to fight through this global pandemic.

Vaccines are being developed at an incredible pace and beginning to be staged for distribution thanks to our pharmaceutical developers, manufacturers and epidemiologists, as well as the federal government, which has unfettered their potential through Operation Warp Speed. President Trump led a “send a man to the moon” type of effort here and it has been rewarding to see market competitors released to do what they do best— solve problems to make the world a better place. It is not lost on most that the capitalist economic system is the driving force in this worldwide progress toward a restoration of “normalcy”. It is amazing what can happen when government paves paths of progress instead of erecting roadblocks.

The hope of these vaccines has also fueled a record high stock market. The booming market does not just help millionaires and billionaires as progressives would have you believe.  Millions of working families’ pensions, 401(K)s and mutual funds are directly tied to the overall success of the stock market. It is not just a game for the rich and powerful.  Rather, it is the collective ambitions of hundreds of millions of Americans who work hard every day and do their best to protect their families from the extreme costs of long-term care and wish to not be a financial burden on others in their older years.

Speaking of our loved ones in long-term care facilities— we miss them and are thankful for them. We are especially thankful to staff members of long-term care facilities who are attempting every accommodation they can safely make to keep loved ones from anguishing from loneliness while also protecting them from the virus. Whether it is window visits, drive-by parades, facilitating video calls and phone calls or going the extra mile for the residents under their care- thank you.

It is so easy for us all to languish in despair as we approach this second COVID winter.  We miss our families, and the Holidays feel so much lonelier apart. Because of our gratitude and faith, we must continue to find ways to prop up one another.  As we express our thanks, may we continue to find ways to be “secret Santa’s” to our neighbors and bestow the kindness of the Holiday Season in every way within our charge. We cannot allow our faith in God almighty to be shaken. For it is in this most sacred of seasons that God sent his only son to be the atonement for all our sins. Those of faith know it is darkest before the dawn. It is right to give thanks to God for both the darkness and the dawn.