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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,017
April 8, 2020
Inspiring Stories - Amid Covid-19
By Mike McManus

Four billion people - more than half the world's population - have been asked to stay at home. More than a million people have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. Classrooms for the world's children are closed.

Yet, as The New York Times reported, "Beyond each of these statistics are untold stories of compassion and sacrifice and heroism that may never be fully recorded." The Times editorial page noted that Dr. Mary Krebs, a middle aged family physician near Dayton treated patients via telemedicine from her own bed as she battled fever, shortness of breath and a dry cough - "telltale signs of coronavirus infection."

Marco Salerno told the residents of his 80 apartments that he would not collect rent this month to alleviate stress on his financially struggling clients.

Some 29 health care workers flew from Atlanta to New York last month to help. They posed for a photo that went viral, with each holding aloft their fingers in the shape of a heart.

The Times also invited readers to offer their own uplifting stories.

Jane Friedman, 74, ventured out almost daily for groceries. Her daughter was critical and asked a group called Invisible Hands Deliver, "who are helping geezers like me." She found their website and registered. Soon Sophia called to offer to be her "invisible hands." She quickly made a delivery. "Invisible Hands, founded by three young people now has thousands of volunteers."

Maria Boyes, a resident of a New York suburb, recalls that in the past, "People were rushed, schedules ruled. Work, sports, tutors." All of the affluent "had somewhere to be - until now. Families now walk the dog all together or kick a ball in the yard. Neighbors now gather at corners...The slow waves and smiles as I ride by are comforting."

Sherri Moore of Los Angeles is over 65, immune compromised, a Type 1 diabetic, and had a cancerous lung removed. "Yesterday, outside my window, I suddenly heard hooting and clapping and yelling. On every balcony, in every window and on rooftops were residents of my Turtle Bay neighborhood cheering on the health care workers." She took out a microphone and played "Amazing Grace" on her harmonica. "Now I finally have a small way to help." Every night at 7, you can hear "Amazing Grace" amidst all the hooting and hollering.

A few days before Oakland, Cal. went into lockdown, Natasha Singh noticed "a giant crow began appearing at our dining room window and peering inside, as if studying us. Considering that no crows - or any birds - for that matter - have visited us, I found it rather curious. Soon I began seeing two crows darting back and forth across the sky, gathering twigs to build a nest...They left for long periods of time. A few days ago I watched one of the crows, sitting still in her nest, riding out fierce winds and rain that threatened to topple the tree, giving a whole new meaning to `sheltering in place.'

"When she flew off, I saw that she had left behind a lone turquoise treasure - her first egg. These crows are a constant reminder that something, maybe many things, will be birthed from this dark time."

Another person who responded to The New York Times invitation was N. Aaron Trodler of Bala Cynwyd, Penn. He was inspired by his children's high school's answer to the frantic call for help. Kohler Yeshiva High School, a Modern Orthodox Jewish school in Merion Station, Penn., is using the 3-D printers and laser cutter in the fabrication laboratory to produce special protective face shields for medical professionals who are on the front lines battling Covid-19. The local community is partnering with the school by donating the necessary supplies and funds to help with production costs, and the school has delivered its medically approved face shields to hospitals, the community ambulance corps and local doctors.

Troodler concludes, "Even in the darkest of days, it behooves all of us to go above and beyond the call to duty to help the greater community and the school's magnanimity in the midst of a crisis is laudable and uplifting."

My wife, for example, is handing out rubber gloves at our grocery store to clerks who have no gloves.

My question to readers is simple. What are you doing to help the needy in your community to cope with the Covid-19 crisis? Are you doing anything demonstrating compassion or heroism?


Copyright (c) 2019 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.comm. Hit Search for any topic.


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