Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last two weeks. The actual number of people unemployed is likely much higher with many of those being my friends and neighbors in Walker County.
We have uncertain and possibly fearful days ahead. Fear of getting sick not only for ourselves but for our friends and loved ones. Fear of unemployment, poverty and for some, hunger.
As I walk the halls at the hospital and sit with patients unable to have their families with them, I see the fear in my co-worker’s eyes as well as my patients. Each day I am witness to a lesson that I hope everyone will learn: Our true destiny is not only to tend to ourselves but to help our fellow citizens in times of need.
What we are living through today will be history tomorrow. It is up to us to write that history. It is up to us to put differences aside and do our part to get through this. It is the concern of all of us.
I have seen Walker County citizens rally in the past few weeks to help ease the fear and uneasiness of some of the people in need. Many of these citizens are volunteering their efforts through several incredible community organizations.
FeedEx, Help Walker Now and, Perry’s Promise along with many other groups, nonprofits, churches, and community organizations are dedicated and determined to do their part to help those in need. All of those who work to aid others in the face of this disease deserve more than the community can ever repay.
I would like to say something to all my supporters. And I would encourage other candidates to join me in this message to their own supporters.
These organizations and their activities should not be political tools to advance our own aspirations for elected office. Their work is too important. My or any candidate’s involvement with a group or organization should not prevent anyone from helping someone in need no matter what group responds to the request for help. We are all in this together.
Matt Harris and Shannon Whitfield are good men with good hearts. Without question, we are opponents in the upcoming election. We have policy disagreements and different visions for how to move Walker County forward in a prosperous and economically attractive way for present and future generations. However, when it comes to helping the community in this public health crisis we are united in this common cause.
This is no ordinary time. Our governor has determined that our elections and the politics involved will continue in the safest way possible. It is up to each one of us to ensure we thoughtfully engage in our civic duty of electing a new county government while coming together to help those in need. When we have done that, we will emerge from this crisis with a renewed faith in our common man.
Franklin Roosevelt in a speech during his freshman year said, “We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.”
I ask everyone who reads this to take that quote to heart. Put aside all divisions. If you can help any organization, please do so. To the groups, organizations, and churches in our community, I encourage everyone to embrace a spirit of collective effort to meet the needs of our citizens.
Together, we cannot fail.