In one of the many Chinese dialects there is a language character commonly referred to as the weiji. It has two shared meanings, the first is crisis.  Certainly, applicable at this time for us all.  The second meaning of weiji is opportunity.   

If ever there was a time to symbolize the definition of weiji, we’re living it. So, I wanted to take an opportunity to recognize those who are at the core of the crisis.  Of course, I’m referring to our first responders.  If we were able to gather in late May to run the 32nd edition of the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon & Relay, your race experience would have been supported by approximately 100 medical professionals, volunteering their time to keep you safe and provide great memories. And, thankfully, for the vast majority of runners in any race, the medical team would go unnoticed. But, if you need them, they would be there. 

The reason I bring this to your attention is ask for your assistance at this time. Right now, all our medical volunteers are serving another race... a much bigger race... they’re serving the human race.  I know many of the medical professionals that come together to support our marathon are right now on the front lines of the pandemic, and I’m worried about them. I’ve been thinking about them every day. I think about Aaron and Jared and the rest of the team at Burlington Fire Department, hoping they’re protecting themselves as they go about their duties. I think about our Medical Director, Dr. Sue Elliott, she’s an ER doc and works at multiple hospitals, talk about being at center of activity.  And all my friends who are nurses, wondering what they’re facing on a daily basis. And I’m thinking about all of the rest of the MD’s, RN’s, EMT’s, the paramedics... everyone who is fighting this battle on our behalf.   

A local article yesterday stated that over 35 health care workers in Vermont have already been infected.  Imagine going to work each day, knowing that you might contract a deadly virus that may end your life.  Not the type of burden most of us carry to the office on a regular basis.  And yet they go, to serve, to provide care for those in need.  They are the people willing to deal with the crisis in order to provide someone the opportunity to survive a pandemic. They’re our weiji heros. 

These professionals are resilient but they will need our support. They’re either in the midst of, or soon will be, some unprecedented demands.  And it’s not going to pass in a week or two. They’re going to need support throughout the crisis and afterwards, they’ll need some time to recover. They’re now in a marathon of their own. I hope you’ll help us support them as they have supported all of us. 

So please take a minute today, and reach out to those you know in the health care field and let them know you appreciate them. Say thanks, post a note on Facebook, send a card. Maybe even arrange to have a take-out meal delivered to their family. Wash their car, take out their garbage, buy them some flowers, do whatever feels right to you to let them know we’re all thinking of them. Share your ideas on social media. And don’t forget to say a word on their behalf when you’re chatting with the big guy or girl upstairs.   

Let’s show them a little love and let’s all stay home... for them.