There is a great deal of talk about the division in our country. We do have a lot of work to do to bring a sense of peace back to our country and beat this virus down. However, I believe we all share more in common than not. I think it is fair to say that universally, we all love our families; love seeing our children smile; love sharing meals with our loved ones; seeing the face of a dear friend; laughing with our friends; enjoying our pets; and bathing in the beauty that surrounds us in these mountains, just to name a few.
I mention all of this as a plea to show that love to all your neighbors and community at large in Western North Carolina by wearing your masks, staying home when you can and respecting social distancing. Two of my children working on the front lines of health care contracted COVID on the job. They suffered relentlessly with symptoms for a month. They are back on the job serving the community.
[A few weeks ago], my dear friend, who works as a nurse and has been testing patients for COVID outside in all kinds of weather since March, lost her beloved father to COVID. He struggled for a month in the hospital and died alone. He left behind a little dog and a brokenhearted family. My nursing friend [is] back on the job, taking care of you, taking care of me.
Mask wearing is not a giving up of rights; it is not a political statement; it is not hard to do. Let’s get through this together; let’s make sure all our family members stay safe and are at the table the next time we are safe to gather together. You do make a difference; you do save lives by this small and yet vital action. Thank you, kind neighbors, for wearing your mask.
— Jackie Austin