In our COVID-19 inundated consciousness, it’s easy to forget that hospitals are open for reasons beyond mitigating the novel coronavirus. Doctors and nurses and technicians and staff are still treating broken bones, caring for car accident victims, dealing with gunshot wounds, continuing to deliver babies, and working round the clock.

They are the unsung heroes.

The hospital food service workers and housekeeping are also taking exposure risks to ensure that patients still have food and clean rooms. They may not be mentioned often, but rest assured, they are appreciated.

They are the unsung heroes.

Beyond the healthcare industry, there are grocery store cashiers, overnight stockers, janitors, and managers. They have been tasked with keeping a scared American populace stocked with essentials. They did not sign up to break up arguments over the last pack of toilet paper, or Ramen noodles. They aren’t trained to handle the crying dad who can’t find a single canister of formula for the infant in his arms. The workers stocking shelves are exhausted by the breakneck pace items are being shipped and restocked. But, they show up, every day. Especially in this situation, they are essential personnel.

They are the unsung heroes.

The transportation industry is still moving with truck drivers spending long hours loading up and unloading big rigs to ensure stores have what they need. They’re crisscrossing the country fueled by gas station pizza and 5-Hour Energy drinks just to make surer America eats.

They are the unsung heroes.

In our nations’ nursing homes, there are nurses and staff missing their families as they take extra care for our vulnerable elderly population. They’re comforting mothers and fathers and grandmas and grandpas when family members can no longer visit due to restrictions. They’re taking pictures and giving so much more than basic care, filling in for the child who may never get to hold her mother’s hand this side of heaven. Our hearts break for their tasks but are full of love and gratitude for them.

They are the unsung heroes.

There are mental health workers suddenly overcome by overly-anxious clients who need help navigating their new normal. These professionals are also struggling to navigate their own new reality, but are putting others above themselves. It’s new territory for all of us, but they step up to the frontlines.

They are the unsung heroes. 

We all have neighbors, schools, and nonprofits scrambling to feed children who otherwise may not eat with schools being closed. They are coming to work when their students are staying home, brainstorming creative ideas to keep them engaged and educated, and above all, cared for. They love those kids deeply, and are working hard to support them in ways we may never see. 

They are the unsung heroes.

This pandemic has disrupted our lives and forced us to slow down, but it has also highlighted the helpers. It’s shining a light on the very best of humanity, and it is a beautiful thing to behold. 

So take a moment to thank that grocer or mailman or nurse or teacher or food service worker or so many others who have suddenly found themselves performing even more essential roles.

Take a minute to look for the helpers and the beauty they supply in the midst of this crazy time in history.

Take a second to thank them.

Because they are the unsung heroes. 

Jacalyn Wetzel

Jacalyn is a mother of four, and the creator of the blog Stop Yelling Please. She writes about motherhood in a way that most can relate. Jacalyn’s passion is parenting and relating to parents who may be struggling with the day to day. She’s a speaker, author and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.