We were all tested in 2020, and we came through. For that, we all deserve recognition and a high five… whenever high fives are okay again. For this installment of Community Digest, we want to highlight our neighbors who have been serving on the front lines on our behalf during these challenging times. Their ongoing dedication to serving the rest of us is a big reason why the South County is great.
Our Front-Line Medical Workers
We are grateful to the front-line care givers at Saint Louis Regional Hospital, DePaul Urgent Care, Gardner Health, Valley Medical’s South County Annex, Kaiser Permanente. Without fanfare and little recognition, they continue to provide urgent, critical and ongoing care for the residents of South County – as they have done since the first days of the
pandemic. Putting their own health on the line to help others and save lives, they have missed meals and gone without sleep or breaks for self-care. Yet, they continue to serve—out
of the limelight, in the dark hours of night and on sun-filled days when to do anything else would be better. Adapting to new protocols, they are guiding patients and loved ones through the “new normal” with kindness, compassion and grace. They continue to find reasons to smile and laugh with those in their care to help ease anxieties and suffering. They are giving their all for the rest of us. We thank them!
Our Local Non-Profits
Unable to hold fundraisers or events to raise awareness and funds, most local non-profits have experienced their leanest year on record. Some have been able to host virtual fundraisers, others have managed online donation drives. All have felt the impact of COVID-19. Still, our local nonprofits have continued to do what they do best—find ways to help the residents of South County. Our non-profits have tirelessly provided food, clothing, emergency financial assistance, counseling and mental health services, toy drives for the holidays and much, much more. In good times we may never notice their hard work, nor the results of their efforts. However, since the Spring of 2020, these non-profits, their staff and volunteers have stepped up even more to fill the gaps in our communities and provide critical resources. Check our website for a list of local non-profits and see great work they do. If able, please support them!
Our First Responders
Local fire and police departments were pushed to the limits in 2020. The California wildfires tested Cal Fire and local fire departments in a seemingly never-ending season of destruction across the state. Locally, our hills were ablaze. Property, livestock and lives were threatened. Our firefighters served both on the front lines and “back-filled” for other agencies on rotation in a well-run statewide coverage plan. Many pulled long shifts and risked their safety to battle fires and keep loss to a minimum. Of special note were the local volunteers who jumped in to help save livestock in many areas engulfed by flames, and local tree specialists who worked alongside Cal Fire to fight the fires. Our local police departments had their own serious challenges in 2020 on top of having to deal with COVID-19. Both fire and PD are now operating in a “new normal” with new restrictive protocols to keep the public safe. Thank you all for your service and dedication to our communities!
Our City Administrators and Public Workers
While we have been under shelter-in-place, our cities have continued to operate. With revenues slashed and sales tax dollars greatly diminished, our city leaders and public service workers have managed to “keep the lights on.” Elected officials have led with class. City administrations and team members have been agile, creative, and effective in establishing priorities, new protocols in the workplace, and communicating to our residents. Our public service employees have kept our streets and parks clean, our systems working, and our cities open for business to the best of their ability. In very difficult times, these dedicated people have continued to serve our communities, and have kept us informed. Thank you!
Gilroy Unifi ed, Morgan Hill Unifi ed, Gavilan College and the many private schools throughout South County have earned our respect and gratitude. They have risen to meet the challenges brought on by the pandemic head on. Those who care for and educate our children have had to learn new technologies and methods of teaching on the fly. Administrators have led with courage and conviction, and teachers have immersed themselves in learning, adapting, and overcoming challenges. They are leading their classrooms in the new normal of online learning. They have embraced new protocols and remained flexible – ready to teach at all costs in the ebb and flow of State and County mandates. We cannot thank our educators enough for looking after and teaching our children!
Front Line Retail, Restaurant and Essential Workers
At daily risk of being exposed to the virus and under the constant pressure of… customers under pressure, our front-line restaurant and retail workers have been true champions for our communities. Dealing with the uncertainty of reduced hours, extra shifts, or whether they will have continued employment the next week, they warmly greet us and offer understanding. They patiently and consistently provide “above and beyond” levels of service. These important service providers keep showing up, day after day, to serve our meals, fill our cups, bag our groceries, and listen to our… struggles. In almost every instance they have a smile behind their mask. Our mail carriers, food delivery drivers, package handlers, and other essential workers also deserve our high praises. I see postal carriers seven days a week on my street, and at all hours. USPS and private sector delivery drivers have literally gone the extra mile for us. These are moms, dads, young adults and students who all have families at home. They all have the same challenges we do – in addition to the extra weight of their service to us. Their contribution to our communities is immeasurable!