Opinion

Kyle Troutman: Singing for our unsung heroes

Saturday, January 16, 2021

This last year has been a tough one for all, but it has undoubtedly been exponentially tougher for our men and women who dedicated their livelihoods as first responders.

From our law enforcement to our firefighters, our linemen to our ambulance district staff, and especially for our healthcare workers, 2020 was unlike anything they had ever seen.

Each year, we take time in January to recognize them, and our Unsung Heroes section is set for print this week.

Our hearts go out more this year to our healthcare workers than ever before. Our health departments have trudged through being overworked and understaffed during the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic. The time and dedication it has taken on their end to perform testing, document cases, account for close contacts and deliver news of deaths has not gone unnoticed.

When I call our offices in Barry and Lawrence counties and ask how things are going, the general response of late is, “Well, it’s going.”

As we in the news industry understand, “it” always goes, and the past year has gone at a faster pace than ever before. We thank you for your dedication and hard work, especially considering the polarization surrounding the pandemic and everything that comes with it. We hope you get a break soon.

Along the same lines, hospital employees have endured a year unlike any other. Doctors and nurses have worked overtime and in dangerous conditions to continue to provide care to us and our neighbors.

Multiple times in the last 12 months, hospitals have been so busy they have not been able to see new patients. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to tell someone visiting a local emergency room that the hospital simply does not have the means to provide care at that specific time.

Healthcare employees have also been burdened with extra precautionary garb. Most of us know how important masks are and wear them, despite the discomfort or annoyance. My hat goes off to those men and women that have been asked to wear protective equipment throughout their shifts.

Hopefully as the vaccine continues to be distributed we can begin this year to relax some of those requirements and get close to business as usual.

For our law enforcement and fire crews, we hear over our scanner every day how hard they work to keep people safe and respond to calls. From health scares to those countless careless and imprudent drivers, our men and women in uniform are always ready, even for the strangest of things.

Just recently, we heard a call come in for an aggressive goat, and it’s not at all uncommon to hear dispatchers send out police to deal with aggressive dogs, suicidal individuals, or, in one case, a man wielding a giant stick at a local convenience store.

As each day dawns, our neighbors with badges or wearing crests never know what the day will bring, and we thank them for their ability to handle whatever comes their way.

More can — and should — be said about our unsung heroes than I have room to print in this space, but I want to close by opening it up to more than just the group’s previously mentioned.

While these groups deserve all the accolades we bestow, there is another group of possible unsung heroes that deserve mentioning — you.

In the past year, we’ve been witness to an immense amount of giving, extending helping hands through things food banks, community organizations and holiday gift programs.

As a civilized society, it takes all of us doing our part to keep moving forward and realizing the progress needed to make our communities better.

So, if you haven’t already, find a way to make a difference, be it in your neighborhood, your city or your county. It could be as simple as mowing a neighbor’s lawn this spring or as complex as coordinating a benefit for someone in need.

To all those in uniform making a difference, and to those making a difference wearing just a T-shirt and jeans, we thank you, and we hope 2021 is filled with positivity and optimism.

Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of The Monett Times since 2014. In 2017, he was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers. He may be reached at 417-235-3135 or editor@monett-times.com.

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