Today as the nation responds to the Wuhan virus we have made a great effort to recognize the first responders, medical personnel and those 24/7 workers who are on the front lines fighting this invisible enemy from China. These individuals deserve our thanks. Just as they do at other times of national needs, however, there is also another group of Americans who are stepping up to the variety of ancillary needs in support of this battle. They are mostly a young generation of the all volunteer force who have come to the aid of their country. While their original intent might not have been fighting a virus, they have responded just the same. They are our military members. Closer to home, they are your neighbors who just a few weeks ago were working in your community at any number of civilian jobs and were called into action and joined the fight in the war against the pandemic.

Many have previously been deployed and served around the world in harm’s way in open conflicts. However, today because of their various combat training and abilities, they are being applied here at home too. They are being asked to oversee the cleanliness of senior living facilities where proprietors had failed and the threat is great. They are augmenting first responders by helping clean their vehicles, assembling coronavirus testing kits, manning food distribution efforts, directing traffic, supporting call centers and performing countless other jobs that they never expected to do. The Navy even deployed their hospital ships to critical areas. These are wonderful examples of the best of America’s younger generation.

Nationwide there are something over 800,000 members of the National Guard and reserve forces. Many serve routinely, however, many have been called away from their families and their day-to-day civilian jobs in our communities to disrupt their lives and serve. When called to duty they put on their uniforms and deploy where the national need is greatest. Due to their military discipline and their training, they perform jobs for which there may be no other provider. Many are assigned to extremely dangerous situations equal to being in life threatening combat.

We should be very proud because these are a representation of a young generation of American patriot volunteers. And while the media will all too often give focus to the darker side of young Americans, we need to focus on these young heroes who more honestly represent the best of Americans. We should be extremely proud of their commitment, sacrifice and willingness to step into the breach and perform as true American heroes. They ask for nothing. However, we owe them many thanks for their contributions in this conflict.

Quentin Thomas


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