F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
The world has seemingly plunged into unprecedented turmoil, with fear and uncertainty driving behavior that would be unlikely never be seen in “normal times.”
COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has thrust the U.S. into a state of mind that has been at times unsettling, but at least in some instances, encouraging.
I would call upon anyone reading this to latch on to the chance to encourage. Amidst all this uncertainty, we are all presented with opportunities to step up and do small things that might make a huge impact on the people we work with or others in our community – all without putting yourself or others at risk of exposure to the illness. We can all make a difference and make this time a little less challenging for someone else.
With telework being authorized and encouraged, people accustomed to going into an office every day are now modifying their living spaces into workspaces to work at home. For many, this might be a welcome change of pace. For others, though, coming into the office might be their only social interaction. Check in with the people you work with, even if it’s “only” sending a text message.
Some people may be too proud or too shy to reach out themselves, or even feel like they’re burdening others by doing it. We are taught to look after our fellow Airmen when they might need it, regardless of whether they actively seek assistance. It is even more important to do so during periods of crisis of uncertainty.
This might also work in some neighborhoods. There are likely people in your neighborhood who are scared or lonely. People who may greatly appreciate someone checking in on them to make sure they’re okay. There’s no need to put anyone at risk – ring the bell, keep your distance and just check in to see if there’s anything they might need.
If that seems daunting, leave a note. Just let them know you’re there to help if needed.
Sharing is Caring
Did you get enough toilet paper to supply a barracks for a month? Why not offer a roll or two to the single mother in your neighborhood? More pasta sauce than you’ll eat by the time those cans expire? Check in with your coworkers and make sure they have enough to get through.
If you do have a little extra, local online marketplaces can be a good place to find people in need. You can likely find someone within a few blocks asking for help on Facebook marketplace, and coming to the rescue of a family in need will feel a lot better than staring at the castle sized hoard of hard-to-find items in your living room. Even if you didn’t grab more than you can use in six months and it’s a supply of closer to two – there may be someone you know who is just days away from running out of something.
In the best of times, blood centers struggle to keep enough blood on hand to support the daily need for transfusions and other life saving procedures. Unfortunately, this recent crisis has caused organizations to cancel blood drives all over the country, placing the blood supply in a critical “danger of collapse,” when combined with a stoppage of individual blood donations as people stay home.
Blood donation is not considered a group activity, and blood donation centers need help to ensure those who need blood can receive it. Even the Surgeon General has asked Americans to keep donating at blood centers – just so long as they’re not sick. However, one healthy donation can save up to three lives. If you can give, or you usually give at blood drives, there are blood centers in most cities (including Cheyenne) that can take walk-in donations.
To be clear, the message given here is in no way a recommendation to bypass the advice of the CDC. Social Distancing is crucial to get us past all of this, and individuals should follow the instructions of medical professionals to keep exposure and infections to a minimum. But, let’s not use distancing as an excuse to ignore the problems faced by those in our workspaces or our communities.
Let’s act like how we’d want other someone to act toward us if we needed a hand. Take the time to make sure your neighbors, your coworkers and others in your extended community are making it through all of this.
While this is a horrible, unprecedented crisis, we can make excellence in all we do something that applies to more than just the mission at work.