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Letter: Thank you to the brave health care workers during crisis

“You are more ready than you think you are.” A mentor of mine gave me that advice on the eve of my first deployment. From 2005 through 2009, I served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty in Iraq in which I watched it become a reality for the incredible soldiers in my platoons. I worked closely on the frontlines with the brave men and women serving as Army combat medic specialists. Throughout my time in Iraq, I saw time and again the critical, selfless role our medics played in keeping our soldiers safe and coming to their aid no matter what the injury and no matter how recently they had trained for it. I witnessed medics dress gunshot wounds, bandage lost limbs and bring order to the chaos of mass casualty situations. In this time of uncertainty, our health care professionals in southern Minnesota are answering the call in much the same way.

In Iraq — similar to the challenge before us now — our resolve was tested every day, but we pulled together and supported one another because we recognized that we each had a role to play. Today, our threat is different but our objective is the same: execute the role we each have in beating COVID-19. For many of us, this means staying home and socially distancing ourselves to slow the spread of this virus. For our health care professionals, it means courageously going toward the threat each and every day. As our communities continue to wrestle with the impacts of COVID-19, we’re fortunate to have world-class health care institutions and professionals on the frontlines all across southern Minnesota.

When I meet with doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, their devotion to serving our communities and putting people first is obvious. Though the challenge of defeating COVID-19 is undoubtedly difficult, I have confidence in our ability to overcome this situation because of our brave health care professionals. Every day, I hear inspiring stories of these men and women working hour-after-hour, day-after-day, to meet this crisis with courage and develop solutions. In fact, just this past week, the Mayo Clinic was able to clear the backlog of COVID-19 tests in Minnesota. While a shared struggle is before us, we can rest assured that our health care professionals are doing all in their power to slow the spread.

To the brave health care workers fighting on the frontlines: You are more ready than you think you are. Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to face difficult times and stressful days.  Our resolve will be tested, but in these moments, I encourage us to think of the frontline workers making sacrifices for our communities in southern Minnesota. This dark and difficult time will come to an end eventually, and when it does, I hope we all remember to thank the health care professionals who navigated us through.

Dan Feehan

North Mankato