Mayor’s Message: Deputy Mayor Heim reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic

Heim shares his thoughts on the pandemic 100 days after it first started

This week we hear from our Deputy Mayor, Don Heim, with his perspective looking back at the last 100 days of the COVID-19 crisis:

It is hard to pretend that anything is close to normal right now. If things were normal, there would be no epidemic, no increased loss of life with healthcare would not be under siege. Commerce would not be compromised, with unemployment at record levels. If things were normal, youth and professional sports would be played, theaters would be open, and parks would be full. And the only “social distancing” in our life would be when our children spend more time on their phone or tablet than conversing with us.

COVID-19, and its residual effects, steal from us every day, in some way … sadly, some more than others. It hurts to see so many who were adversely impacted health wise, as well as professionally, financially and socially. This pandemic took us all by great surprise, having never imagined the life altering changes now thrust upon us. As the world acclimates itself to a new norm, we are forced to adapt, adjust and accept that which faces us.

Being an active member of the community, as a committee person, coach, administrator, volunteer, businessman and neighbor, I have seen how each of those life channels have been impacted adversely. When such horror occurs, we have two options: give in to the adversity or embrace our internal will, individually and as a community.

Though saddened by these circumstances, I have seen great examples of embracing our collective will and faith in our community. Harrison Township has rallied and unified during this trying time and shown the true heart, soul and good nature of our residents. From the onset of the pandemic, our town has banded together and volunteered to: bring food to those in need; check in with the infirmed; interface with our healthcare professionals and first responders; provide masks and other necessities to our residents; provide special events honoring our youth, students and our heroes; make our high school seniors remember how special their accomplishment is; communicate weekly with updates and important messages and emphasizing the importance of what we need to do, to not only flatten the curve, but obliterate it. This is truly the definition of what we call “Harrison Strong.”

What happened along the way I view as a gift. We were forced to slow down, scale back, grow closer and embrace the true meaning of family that is often lost in the hectic lives we lead. This crisis reminds us how vulnerable we all are and how special and fragile every day is. On a personal level, family breakfasts, workouts, household cleanouts, foul shooting contests, TV show binge watching, conversations and reflections and walking the dogs (or more appropriately, the dogs walking us) became more common and coveted, and certainly more appreciated. Truly the definition of what I call “Family Strong.”