A message of thanks to the heroes who shine brightly during dark and scary times

The healing garden at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City

By Pat Harty

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Please allow me to step out of my sports lane for this one column because it’s time to say thanks to the brave people who are protecting us and helping to maintain some sense of normalcy during these scary and surreal times.

From the health care workers battling the spread of Covid-19 on the front lines to the law enforcement officers helping to maintain order to the restaurant and grocery store workers helping to keep food available, and to the truck drivers helping to keep the supply lines flowing, you all deserve our thanks, our praise, and, of course, our prayers.

Because without you, we couldn't win this battle. And we ultimately will prevail because of you.

While millions of us are doing our part simply by staying at home, others don’t have that luxury because we depend on them to wage this battle in public where the risk of being infected is considerably higher.

My next door neighbors, for example, one is a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, while her husband works as a greeter as the UI Hospital and Clinics, and I often look out the window and see them leaving for work as if nothing has changed, even though so much has changed since the highly contagious Coronavirus started causing misery.

There are so many acts of courage taking place right now, and I just felt the need to say thanks.

I had just returned from the grocery store on Sunday when I started writing this column. The same young woman who had been my checker a few days earlier was there again on Sunday wiping down the checkout counter after each customer and providing a friendly smile.

Never again will I take a grocery store worker for granted.

If there is anything good to come from this horrible and ongoing nightmare, it’s a new appreciation for people that I used to take for granted.

To all the businesses staying open and providing the services that we need to survive, and to endure, thank you for your courage and resolve.

Of course, it’s disappointing and deflating having no sports to cover, or to watch, but that is a small sacrifice compared to what some people are being subjected to on a daily basis.

I couldn’t begin to imagine how scary it must be right now for the doctors and nurses, and other medical workers who are battling this virus on the front line. The fear, the uncertainty, the pain and anguish, their lives are now consumed by all of those feelings and emotions.

And yet, they refuse to surrender because that goes against every fiber of their being, and because surrendering isn’t an option.

So as you figure ways to pass the time in isolation, remember those who don’t have the option of staying protected at home.

Remember them and say thanks for being so brave and noble.

Say a prayer for them and take some comfort in knowing that they’re best of the best, heroes in every sense of the word.

This virus has proven to be a nasty, relentless and formidable foe, but it's now waging battle against an opponent that is even stronger and more determined.

And that's us, led by the people who are helping to feed, protect and cure us.

Again, thank you.