As the year draws to a close, it’s fairly customary for the outgoing MLS President to write an article reflecting back on what we accomplished as an MLS over the last year. I certainly am honored for the opportunity to serve in this position, pleased with what we accomplished in such an unusual year, and thankful for being able to work with such great leaders on the HMLS & KCRAR Boards of Directors. I don’t want to take anything away from the people of this organization, because every single one of them should be proud of the work they accomplish day in and day out. I instead wanted to use this platform to focus on another contingent of leaders. The many leaders that COVID-19 has affected the most.
From the many people who have had to be a leader for their family while their loved one suffered or died from COVID-19, to the parents that have to balance multiple jobs to make ends meet while also having children at home full time for virtual education. As we look back and reflect on this year, there is not one place you can look without finding someone that has had to sacrifice their entirety in order to be a leader for someone else. These leaders existed well before COVID-19 and will continue to exist far longer than this pandemic, but this year has made their struggle and sacrifice especially difficult. They are the parents of special needs children, whose normal support system outside of the home has dried up due to mass closures. The adult children who are caring for an elderly parent in their home and have to witness horrific health deteriorations from a plethora of heart wrenching medical conditions such as dementia. It is the spouse supporting their family as their significant other is in the fight of her life to defeat breast cancer. As we look around our own lives there is no end in sight for the examples you can find. Everywhere we look, these leaders are out there displaying a level of intestinal fortitude worthy of their own superhero movie.
If you are one of these people, I want to thank you for your sacrifice and remind you that what you are doing does not go unnoticed. You are not alone, and everyone in your life is a better person because of the quality of character and strength you display. You may not hear it enough, but there are people that look at you and think “that is what it means to be a quality human being.” If you know one of these people in your life, take the time to go out of your way to recognize them. Pick up the phone and tell them you love them, let them know they are not alone, and you’ll do anything you can to help them. Send them a gift basket, go cook them a meal, order them takeout or just be there for them. I assure you even the smallest gesture will go a long way. There are many people in our life worthy of recognition right now that never receive it. If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s that the greatest leaders among us are oftentimes those who sacrifice the most, yet are recognized the least. Let’s go out of our way to recognize them.