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OPINION: Supporting Our Health-Care Heroes

By Robert Smullen


For more than a year, our state, and indeed the world, has been fighting against a pandemic in a way that has not been seen in over a century. This time, we have the benefit of countless experienced and professional medical personnel to guide us through it. Doctors, nurses, EMS workers, custodial staff, and many more employees throughout the health-care enterprise have worked day and night throughout this pandemic, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to our communities. 

For many of us, the question of how we can further show our support for transitioning out of this pandemic has been a big question. First, there are a few preventive items I wanted to share. Everyone who is comfortable doing so can get vaccinated to help reach herd immunity. For those people who still have reservations about the vaccine being on an emergency-use authorization, I get that too, and do not think the state has the authority to mandate vaccinations. Both you and I can also continue to follow the safety protocols lined out by the Centers for Disease Control, including social distancing, and using lots of hand sanitizer. This is the best thing we can do for our health-care heroes, keeping the COVID-19 positivity rate down and reducing the burden on our health-care system. 

A second consideration is blood donation. New York has never had a great record for blood donation, but due to the pandemic, blood shortages have reached an all-time high. Organizations like the American Red Cross help to facilitate blood donations, so if you are particularly inclined, it would be a commendable way to support our health-care workers. I can tell you from personal experience that blood donation is smooth and efficient, thanks to the hard-working health-care professionals who facilitate it. 

Finally, as part of an ongoing initiative to help revitalize local economies, I’d recommend shopping at and supporting local institutions and businesses and partnering with them to show support for our health-care heroes. Part of showing our gratitude comes from our commitment to our localities and neighbors, which can be in the form of financial support and neighborly kindness. If we take some of these steps on for ourselves, I believe we’ll see a rapid turnaround for our community and will have properly honored the sacrifices made by our health-care heroes.

As the pandemic ends and we adjust to the coming summer, the way we transition can greatly ease the burden on our health-care system and the dedicated people who have served our communities. For each of these hometown heroes, please thank and recognize their efforts with the gratitude we all feel. And we also must ensure that the hard work they put in was not in vain as we begin to enjoy the post-pandemic life. Let’s stay vigilant and take responsibility to keep pace with the fight against this virus, and not let each other down.            

Robert Smullen is the Republican representative of the 118th New York Assembly District, which encompasses Hamilton and Fulton counties as well as parts of Herkimer, Oneida, and St. Lawrence counties.