“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap a building in one single bound.” As a kid, this phrase captured my imagination. I would tie the ends of a towel around my neck, clench my fists with my arms extended towards the sky and launch into flight. Envisioning thrusting from the summit of a mountain and agilely returning to earth. In this case, I was actually jumping off the couch and unceremoniously greeting my living room floor with a crude thud. Brooding over yet another loss in the battle against gravity and the ineffectiveness of my cape; reality began to set in. There I was, sitting on the floor with a sore knee and bruised ego beginning to understand that I was human. Over the years, I fell countless more times, but more importantly, I always got back up.
My view of the word Hero has changed over the years. Gone are the days of wishing for x-ray vision or the ability to read minds. I now recognize Heroes as those who give incredible effort in the service of others. Society at large has begun to pay homage to these people who put themselves into harm’s way for the greater good. If you drive by any medical center from North Oaks in Hammond to Baton Rouge General, you should see a sign that reads: “Heroes Work Here.” Educators are handing out meals to ensure that their scholars continue to receive nourishment and posting social media videos to show support and mindfulness of the impact of separation. Healthcare professionals, first responders, and public workers have and should continue to be hailed as heroes for their acts of courage and sense of duty. In our modern sound-bite society, heroic actions sometimes seem ordinary, until the moment of a paradigm shift.
We are in an extraordinary time that calls for extraordinary people. There is an invisible nemesis that has changed our lives. In response to this threat, there are those among us who courageously meet our daily needs and safeguard our communities. They are essential. The Department of Homeland Security along with other federal agencies, State, and local officials developed advisory guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce. In short, this was a recommendation on people and positions required for our society to continue to function. These individuals provide services to ensure that our home utilities are in working order, stock produce in our markets, pick up our refuge from the curbs of our homes. All heroes don’t wear capes; some are only equipped with a mask and gloves. They serve with a heart for others; the greatest superpower of all.
I stopped at a gas station the other day and after I completed my purchase, I told the cashier to be careful. She replied, “I just pray and go on.” She goes on serving; providing for her family and the public at large. One day we will return to some semblance of normalcy and when this does happen, I hope that we continue to see the courage to serve as we see it now. Though we are down now, thanks to heroes like her, we will get back up.
By Kevin Brown
Brown is a native of Ponchatoula, resident of Mccomb is a Community Advocate, community service project coordinator and creator of Kevbrown360.com where he shares stories of the positive contributions of organizations and individuals in the communities in which we live.