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Protect those who care for the rest of us

To the editor:

It has been my privilege to be a member of this community for the last 50 years; first as a trial lawyer for 35 years; then as a deacon at Holy Trinity for the last six years and now as chaplain at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center for the last three years. Over this time period I have enjoyed many letters to the editor, agreeing with many and disagreeing with a few, but never have I been compelled to write until now. At this time of Thanksgiving, it is imperative to both give thanks and to speak out.

Wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands, care about your neighbor.

During this last almost one year, I have been humbled to be present at a modern day expression of the corporal works of mercy. Everyday, I marvel at the staff of our hospital, who engage this invidious enemy that is robbing our nation, state, community and family of our best selves. These professionals don protective clothing and march headlong into the jaws of this killer, fearful for sure of their own safety, but fearless in their care for us. On countless days, I have watched nurses and doctors shedding tears for those that they have lost, as though they were members of their own families, but yes they were in fact their family if only for a few hours or days. The custodial staff and aides, who many visitors never see, but who are always present, are also valiant warriors in this struggle. Each risking their own well-being in service to all of us.

As I stand on the sidelines watching these consummate professionals, I sometimes ask ”How are you kids doing?” I know they are not kids, but they are mostly the same age as my own kids, and I use that word as a term of endearment and affection. Our community needs to know what heroes are just over the bridge on the west side of town.

If you are not wearing a mask when you go out; if you are not socially distancing, you are putting these angels of mercy at risk, and their families when you come into the Emergency Department seeking help. You will never be asked if you were doing your part in fighting this destroyer, you will only be served with competence, compassion and love.

So as we enter both this time of thanksgiving and waiting, our holiday season, let us help each other by conducting our lives as though other lives may depend upon it. Let us renew our efforts to keep each other safe. Let us send forth a prayer for those who put others before themselves.

C. Joseph Coleman Jr.

Fort Dodge

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