Marking yet another grim milestone, the death toll in the United States from the novel coronavirus pandemic surpassed 80,000 on Monday, a figure which, on several occasions, prominent elected officials including President Trump assured the public they would never see.
Now we are poised to watch that number continue to grow, a staggering loss already too incomprehensible to imagine. This is now the story that we know every day, that there will be more deaths and more bitterness. But there are other stories about this time that may go untold, about people doing good, and working to the best of their ability to hold the world together.
We would like to acknowledge them today and to introduce you to new projects underway at The Beachcomber as well.
It should go without saying, but firefighters and medical workers at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue respond to distress calls throughout the day and night on this island and make us safer. So too do the deputies that patrol our highway and must sometimes put themselves into harm’s way. But we must also extend our thanks to the island’s many grocery workers who continue to stock shelves and greet you at checkout for what is, hopefully, an essential trip to any of the island’s main grocers. Please note, shoppers and clerks alike, the new recommendation from Public Health – Seattle & King County about masks. Information about that can be found on the front page of this issue.
This paper is not the first to extend gratitude for the island’s grocery store employees during this crisis but it bears repeating that despite precautions they cannot guarantee they will not be exposed to this deadly virus while on the job. Please treat them with respect when they are serving you.
There are dozens of volunteers on this island who continue to step up to help whenever possible, and whenever needed, from brightening the days of residents at Vashon Community Care to those who work tirelessly as members of the numerous teams under the VashonBePrepared umbrella. In this week’s Beachcomber, on page 9, you will find the first of a new series of reports from the Vashon Emergency Operations Center about the virus with critical information that some islanders may not be able to access themselves online. We hope you find this information as valuable as we do.
We must thank the many teachers who continue to educate the island’s youth under circumstances that are almost unfathomable and require them to completely transform learning in the state with little warning as it has nationwide. We must thank you for learning yourselves what works and what does not. And we must also thank the many parents who may have taken on an additional role to become their child’s teacher. We are grateful to you.
And we appreciate mothers! Thank you for all you do! Happy belated Mother’s Day.
There are many more that we could name here for all that they give to this island and do every day. And that is why we would like to invite you to consider contributing to our new, occasional series of tributes to island businesses, artists and other community members in the age of coronavirus. We intended to celebrate the people and places that make this community so rich and wonderful, but we will need your support in order to do it.
As always, we thank you, reader, for your continued support of our work. On the days when writing for the paper is hardest, it is your kindness, encouragement and generosity that set in motion the best of what we can do here. Stay well, stay safe and see you next week.