A special group of public servants is worthy of our thanks during this pandemic

Published 8:46 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Thank you for your Service.

After 25 years in the Army, I’ve become accustomed to hearing these words — and I feel a humble pride whenever I do. I’ve also said these words to many veterans, as I recognize that I stand on the shoulders of all the service members who have come before me.

I also routinely give a big thanks to our healthcare workers, police, firefighters and other emergency responders. Much like our service members, these amazing folks also get well-deserved recognition for everything they do for their communities. I am grateful every single day knowing their primary purpose in life is making sure the rest of us are safe and cared for, particularly during this frightening time.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

But, today I need to share these words with a whole new group of public servants — the people who are still selflessly coming to work to provide everyone else with life’s necessities. To everyone working in the grocery stores, drive-up windows and restaurants, gas stations, wine stores (yes, I said it), waste management, utility companies, and the many other supporting jobs — I say “thank you.”

I want to give special, heartfelt appreciation to the folks in these (sometimes thankless) jobs for continuing to come to work day after day. I respect the personal risk they’re taking for themselves and their families by being out on a daily basis.

Many of us are able to shelter in place and only leave for essential supplies, but our supporting folks don’t have that luxury.

I stand by the word “luxury,” despite the many folks going a little stir crazy from being in the house with their families without a break. For those of us who can stay home, the chances of getting the virus are greatly reduced, and this is only possible because of those supporting folks who continue to go to work to provide us with food and necessities.

So, to everyone relying on that continued service, please say thank you and be kind. Please don’t treat these folks as if they already have the virus — remember the only reason they’re out of their homes is to help the rest of us.

Be respectful of the tough jobs they have, made all the tougher by the current shortages caused when some among us panic and clear out the shelves. A little kindness goes a long way in reassuring people that they’re appreciated and that what they’re doing is worthwhile.

Finally, although it’s not yet mandated, please consider wearing a cloth face covering when you’re out in the stores. Though the cloth covering doesn’t completely protect its wearer from the virus, it does go a long way in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by keeping it contained with the person who already has it. If we all wear coverings, we can help protect the people around us who are working so hard on our behalf.

I will end the way I began, to all the support workers throughout the Vicksburg community — thank you for your service.

 

Col. Teresa A. Schlosser, Commander, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center