It’s been a rough week across North Missouri with bitter cold, snowstorms, and slick roads causing havoc. Many students have been at home for several days and temporary rolling blackouts and propane issues have made a difficult week even more challenging. We’re used to winter weather, but this has been tough.
While we work to assess how we prevent these challenges in the future, I’m reminded that a lot of folks simply don’t get snow days. That’s certainly the case for our many farmers across the district. There are no days off to escape the sweltering heat or bitter cold, no delaying what needs to be done for sleet, rain, or hail. The livestock can’t just wait around for the weather to clear up and there’s always more work to be done, rain or shine.
Electrical linemen have been working overtime out in the elements to get the power turned on. Police officers are still working the beat, always ready to keep our communities safe. Truck drivers and railway workers are still hauling critical supplies, including PPE and COVID-19 vaccines, that have to get where they’re going, even when that means slow and cautious trips. First responders still have to report to duty, standing by to rescue Missourians who fall victim to those same icy roads.
You might think that maybe firefighters would get a break, given that surely there aren’t many fires at 30 below, but you’d be dead wrong. The bitter cold, electrical outages, and makeshift efforts to keep warm lead to house fires and someone has to be there to put those out. Professional and volunteer firefighters all over the region have been out in the elements fighting blazing flames in the freezing cold and saving lives.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of all those out there braving these dangerous conditions, but I hope it serves as a powerful example of a simple point. While some Missourians have telecommuted or had a few unplanned vacation days this week, many have soldiered on, doing the work that needs to be done in the elements.
They’re the ones keeping us safe, keeping food on the table, and getting critical supplies where they need to go. They won’t return from their shift to a round of applause or even a simple thank you. More often than not, it’s thankless, forgotten work that they do.
Their sacrifices and service shouldn’t be forgotten though. We should all take the time to recognize those that keep our country going—in the dead of winter and even in the middle of a pandemic. To those everyday heroes, thank you.