When COVID-19 swept into our lives March 16, 2020, we were just getting our Center fully operational after moving in (November 1, 2019) with a commitment to purchase the 7,000 square foot building securing a firm 'foundation', furnishings, equipment, personnel, communications, marketing....
With great anticipation, purpose, mission, and personnel in place, with doors wide open on January 5, 2020 to welcome Service Members, Veterans, & Families, (SMVF) and soon realized that our Law Enforcement & First Responders (LEFR) urgently need 'peer' holistic health support services too. So mid-February, our response to national concerns, was/is to feature them more often than before, in our mission & message.
1. All of these 'Front-Line' community members (SMVF & LEFR) are the ones who put their lives on the line daily, day after day, never knowing what will happen, whether or not they will be injured or killed, --or will be able to return home to their family any day after work? Year after year: There are no 'safety guarantees'.
2. For military members there is the added 'can't just quit and do something else'. Once they sign up, they're committed to a term of three, four or maybe even five years of duty. Without an honorable discharge, or medical discharge, deciding you want to 'bail out' isn't a viable or easy option -- neither is deserting, the consequences are serious.
3. Military members are often 'relocated' and many are 'deployed' - whenever, and wherever they are needed, with or without their families. How many 'jobs' demand that and what impact does that have on their loved ones? Left behind?
Without discounting the important roles of all of our 'workforce' across the country, because without them none of us would have services, products, especially the necessities. The quality of our lives here in America could be be 'third world' hardship and struggle, without them.
COVID-19 may have done many of us a favor, looking at the half-full glass, Americans (and the world) have had the opportunity for a 'wake up' call -- "what's important, what's not?"
The community bond between 'Front-lines' and 'Civilian' may be stronger, facing the known and the unknown, the losses and the blessings, could be stronger now than anyone would have guessed, just nine months ago?
I know we are stronger, focused, resilient, praying daily, keeping the Center open, for everyone, hasn't been easy, but we believed we could -- and we're expanding services, inclusively, because no one knows "What's Next?"