The heroes in our community

In the past few weeks, our world has been turned on its head. We’re facing a global pandemic, our economy has ground to a sudden halt and it has left many of us wondering what will happen next. But times like these can bring out the best in us. Heroes across our community, and across our state, have stepped up to help others through this difficult time. They deserve our recognition and our sincerest thanks.

At the top of this list are health care workers, including the doctors, nurses, physician assistants, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians and all staff on the front lines of this pandemic. They put themselves at risk every day to protect our health and treat the sick, and for that we owe them an incredible debt.

In addition to health care workers, our police, firefighters and EMS workers are also on the front lines of this crisis, as many have no choice but to continue to interact with the general public to keep our communities safe. 

While these folks take on a considerable amount of risk in this line of work to begin with, they now also have to worry about contracting COVID-19.

This concern with becoming infected also applies to the employees of businesses and organizations out there that have been deemed essential by the state. That includes the people who ring us up at the grocery store, drive trucks, pick up our garbage, fix our cars, serve school lunches, deliver heating fuel, and many, many others. 

They help us all keep going about our days with as little interruption as possible. Without them, we would be truly lost.

There are many other heroes in our community too: the gentleman from Medway who created a website to help folks find essential items; the teachers who have adapted remote lesson plans on the fly and found ways to brighten their students’ days; the parents who have had to drop everything and accommodate their kids being home all day; the musicians and artists who have found ways to share their talent from a distance; and so many more of our friends, neighbors and community members who have stepped up in their own ways to help us all get through this.

In order to highlight those going above and beyond to help or inspire others, my colleagues and I have created a new project called The Dirigo Network. Each week, we will collect stories of Mainers helping Mainers and feature them in a video. If a group or an individual in your life or online has inspired you during this time, please share it with us. To submit a video, photo, or social media post of a person or organization that has inspired you, go to tinyurl.com/dirigonetwork or email TheDirigoNetwork@gmail.com. Help us share some good news in these trying times.

As a reminder, if you feel symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and think you might have COVID-19, please call your primary care provider or whatever health care facility you normally use. It’s important that folks don’t just show up unexpected, as that can further spread the disease.

For any questions about COVID-19 and Maine’s response, you can call 211, text your zip code to 898-211 or email info@211maine.org. You can also visit mainesenate.org. to stay up to date on the state’s response to COVID-19.

If you need help and aren’t sure where to turn, I am happy to help. You can reach my office at 207-287-1515 or send me an email at james.dill@legislature.maine.gov. Remember, I work for you.

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