In the Heart of Ohio, We Rise

Gratitude can sometimes be misconstrued as misplaced optimism in a sea of challenging events. Like successfully getting your 3-year-old fed and down for a nap while simultaneously participating in a department-wide video conference. Or, like staying on message while speaking with local media about the importance of social distancing during a public health emergency, when your child aggressively yells, “Mommy! I have to go potty!”

While slightly unfortunate and a bit comical, I’m grateful to have a car to drive, a place to work, a home to reside, and a family to love.

The moments above are truly minor examples of when this word has touched my heart. Even more, as I approach the week’s end, it continues to be the only word that fills my soul when overcome with insurmountable worry about the world’s current state of events.

I have the privilege of working for an organization whose mission is to encourage people to connect. We build meaningful relationships with residents and visitors through art, nature, and recreation. In my unique role, I often serve as a bridge between both private and public industries by building engagement, awareness, and funds for our mission. I tell our story.

Above all, I have the honor of working with professionals that span local media, nonprofit, business and government every day.

Like many, the past month has been an orchestra of pings and silent buzzes as updates related to COVID-19 appear in overlapping news alerts on my phone. However, these updates, often filled with dread, have not outweighed something miraculous. They have not eclipsed a community ready to fight.

Ping: Nationwide Foundation to Contribute $5M Buzz: Cardinal Health Donates Over 2 Million Hospital Gowns to Strategic National Stockpile Fight: Mayor Ginther Declares State of Emergency for Columbus Ping: Downtown YMCA Transforming Gym Into Homeless Shelter During Coronavirus Buzz: FDA Provides Full OK for Battelle Mask-Sterilizing Technology Fight: The Columbus Foundation: Supporting Our Community During Coronavirus Ping: Nurses fight PPE shortage, Columbus based business steps up to help

From small business owners doing everything they can to keep their establishments running, to parents retooling their skills while juggling work and their new reality of homeschooling — we fight.

Nevertheless, despite our push to flatten the curve, I’d be remiss to gloss over the hardships and heartache experienced by many.

Like many, I’ve received texts from friends who lost their jobs. I’ve celebrated birthdays of loved ones by singing “happy birthday” via phone. I’ve had to learn about friends diagnosed as COVID-19 positive. Last, I’ve softly explained to our child why playgrounds are closed, and why we have to wait just one more week to see grandma and grandpa.

To quote a dear friend and mentor, “It’s a war.” And, I agree. We are dealing with an unprecedented battle. A crisis that will impact our community for generations.

However, I wake up every morning feeling thankful, and I go to sleep every night knowing that I live in a city of courageous fighters. Fighters filled with a good dose of Midwestern spirit and grit. We roll up our sleeves when things get tough. We fly our country’s grand old flag to remind us that we’re in this fight together. We do whatever it takes to make sure the needs of our community are met. Thus, I am filled with gratitude.

The ingenuity and spirit of our city lives on, because, in the heart of Ohio, we rise.

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