To the Editor:

Good day, I hope everyone is safe and well. A couple of things come to mind as we come to the end of April 2020. The pandemic has placed many of us in different roles than we had ever expected to be in. Parents are now the teacher, principal, counselor and the cafeteria lady. Health care workers, every person who keeps a medical facility functioning, as well as our first responders, along with our truckers and food store employees are without a doubt our newest heroes. They were always our heroes but we have found out how truly important and dedicated they are. Our military, who we have always seen loading rockets on an F-16 or standing guard over a newly conquered village in Iraq, moved with superman and superwomen speed to design, build, outfit and “man” temporary hospitals, clinics. They moved mountains of needed supplies almost effortlessly and without complaint or threat of a strike or any political strife. Please remember they come from a great tradition of men and women who served before them, the veterans who set the standard and in some cases even trained them. I may not be able to shake their hands anymore, but they will get a big salute from me as I try to hold back tears of joy when I say thank you.

And probably the most selfless and genuine humanitarian act was that of the millions of persons who like you stepped aside and entered into quarantine without question to quell the C-Virus fire. Some of you sacrificing jobs and lifestyles you worked a lifetime to acquire and achieve. Thanks to each of you and hoping we will be returning to a new normal very soon.

There are people checking on older neighbors, volunteering to shop, making deliveries, donating to and working in food banks. These are all good things that happened under the worst of circumstances. We all should take the time to say a prayer for a each of them also.

I want to comment on the care and circumstances in our long-term care (LTC) facilities. I was appalled at the editorial I read that designated them as “dumping grounds” for the elderly. The people I know from five decades of working 24/7/365 in this world, and they are amazing. They provide not only medical service, clean, sanitize and prepare nutritious meals but truly care for the residents of their facilities. Many times becoming closer to residents than their own families and the residents’ only contact to the rest of the world. They are far from that, the residents are very much alive and well. Where there are problems, they are because the facilities are literally run by the federal and state governments. You can only own the building (mortgage) but the “day-to-day management” is dictated by government rules, regulations, and expectations that are in many cases impossible to meet. I want to especially say thank you to the staff of the LTC facilities who are doing an outstanding job caring for our oldest and most vulnerable members of our society. Please remember the facilities cannot stop an admission of a C-Virus infected person, which places other residents and staff at risk. The pressure on LTC management and staff is tremendous.

Please call 211 or your physician for information if you think you have symptoms of the virus before going to any clinic or hospital unless it is a true emergency.

Please be well and safe, check on your neighbors, stay hydrated, keep up regular routines, limit your time in public, wear a nose/mouth covering when you are out, eat healthy (I never knew there were so many ways to prepare kale), exercise regularly and be especially kind to each other.

Anthony F. Simonetti

Board of Alderman

1st Ward