Hudspeth: So many to thank in this time of crisis

Stephen Hudspeth

Stephen Hudspeth

Staff / Hearst Connecticut Media

There’s been such remarkable support from our town across the board in this challenging COVID-19 time for us senior citizens who are especially vulnerable to life-threatening consequences from the coronavirus.

First let me touch on some of the private town support Becky and I have personally experienced:

The Village Market has stepped in wonderfully to take care of us older folks. We call in our order of 20 items twice a week and pick the order up when we’re told it’s ready. It’s been like having a personal shopper — a service we’ve never enjoyed before! If we ask for something that isn’t on the shelves and authorize them to do so, they’ll select a next-best, and they always get the orders right!

We know this takes a lot of extra work on the part of Village Market staff: taking email orders, pulling items off the shelves, bringing them out to our car, and then loading them into our luggage compartment as we stay safely in the driver’s seat. With enthusiastic well wishes and a jaunty wave, they let us know all is aboard and send us happily on our way home.

Behind those who do this order processing we know is a whole corps of other staff in the various departments and “back-office” work and storage areas: ordering goods, unpacking shipments, stocking shelves, preparing food, and taking care of all of the other functions that enable modern supermarket operations. And behind them are a host of other workers at processors of the food that sustains us so well, wholesalers and delivery people who get it to the Market, and so many other dedicated people who’ve stayed on the job as essential workers doing what has needed to be done to sustain the rest of us.

Then there are the restaurants in town, and I won’t begin to list them all but please know that you’re all included in these thanks. We’ve enjoyed many take-out meals beautifully prepared — and real treats as meal time has become an especially exciting part of the day. Special thanks also to Susan Schmitt and the Painted Cookie for creating such special treats for birthdays, graduations, and other celebrations. Cookies are something you can drop off in an appropriately socially distanced way and which, by their very nature, convey a more-than-virtual hug to those we love on their special days! And also to Wilton Hardware for staying open to meet important needs, and to a dear younger friend who has done special shopping for us.

And our postal workers and package delivery people also deserve special thanks for working to be sure we have what we need as mail communications and online purchases became even more important in confinement times. Likewise, our town nonprofits have found creative ways to continue to serve community needs.

Special thanks to our faith institutions, too. They’ve found ways to continue and even to enhance their ministries to fill needs both here and more widely — and there are surely many additional needs attributable to the COVID crisis. When their worship spaces necessarily closed, they picked up with all sorts of virtual ways to be together in community: services for sure, but also adult education, children and youth programs, coffee hours, choir rehearsals (no mean feat over Zoom!), governing boards’ meetings, and lots more.

There are many other private actors we should thank, but I turn now to offer thanks to our town government officials and employees. They’ve been so active and effective during the crisis, and all of them deserve special thanks: on town boards, in town hall operations, in teaching and school administration, in public works, in food pantry operations, and especially among our first responders who haven’t flinched from the challenge of never knowing what the next emergency call will expose them to with the virus overhanging the personal contact that is key to first-responder work.

We all also extend deep appreciation to our medical professionals who have labored so courageously, ignoring personal risk and working with whatever equipment has been available to make things better for patients who have contracted the virus whatever their degree of severity.

And finally, a thank-you to our journalists who have stayed fully engaged in covering the stories and making sure we know what’s happening during a time when accurate information is crucial and communication is so important.

You are all such valued members of our community, and during these times we’ve been forcefully reminded of how important our strength in community is.