Voluntary valor

Posted 8/11/21

For more than 500 days, health professionals and essential workers have been living and working through an unprecedented period of constant, unrelenting chaos. The toll that this pandemic has placed upon them cannot likely be measured in purely tangible

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Voluntary valor

Posted

For more than 500 days, health professionals and essential workers have been living and working through an unprecedented period of constant, unrelenting chaos.

The toll that this pandemic has placed upon them cannot likely be measured in purely tangible ways. Physically, they are exhausted, of course. But mentally, they will likely suffer the consequences of this non-stop marathon for many more years to come in ways that are not yet readily apparent. The relentless threat of sickness and death surrounding you has a way of messing with your psyche that will not be easy to undo.

The work and drive of these individuals, as we stare down an unthinkable second wave of infections, restrictions and hospitalizations, is nothing less than angelic. We will need to ramp up support for them in every possible way possible as summer folds away into flu season.

But there is an additional bright spot of humanity among this darkness. In addition to those selfless individuals who have made helping others a career, there are many thousands of volunteers across the state that have been stepping above and beyond normal societal expectations in order to help run test sites, initially, and now the many vaccination clinics that have popped up throughout Rhode Island.

These people are not paid, and they are certainly not often thanked for the voluntary sacrifice of their time or safety. Members of the public may simply assume they are compensated healthcare workers, either paid through local means or by the federal government. But likely the only reward these volunteers receive for their actions is the knowledge that, in some way, they’ve done something to help make the world better during one of its worst chapters.

We can’t help but openly wonder what internal factors found within the chemistry of different people can create such different outcomes – where some can ingest all the information around them and conclude that they would rather fight and scream and throw a tantrum when a business owner politely asks them to wear a mask, and why others will take that same external information, and conclude that they would like to sacrifice an entire weekend day to donate their time and help make sure their neighbors are vaccinated against a terrible illness.

(See the story in today’s issue on the vaccination clinic conducted by the Disaster Assistance Medical Team/Medical Reserve Corps this past Saturday at the Knight Campus of CCRI. Corps volunteers have logged more than 200,000 in conducting vaccination clinics and test sites throughout the state.)

Truthfully, we wish that this formula – whether it’s created through a combination of upbringing, perspective received through living a certain kind of life, something wholly genetic and intangible or a combination of all those factors – could be synthesized and put into its own type of vaccine.

If enough people possessed the drive and benevolent empathy to voluntarily help others at the expense of their own safety and self-interests, it might just be the cure for all of Earth’s problems, not just COVID.

Go to RIResponds.org if you’re interested in signing up to be a community healthcare volunteer.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here