Dear Tulane Community:
The COVID-19 outbreak represents one of the greatest challenges in the history of our country, our world and our Tulane family. On a daily basis, I am filled with admiration and gratitude for the countless ways the members of our university have come together in response to this crisis, even when social distancing has kept us physically apart.
At the very top of my long list of "most admired Tulanians" are the brave doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who are risking their lives to care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients in our city and surrounding areas. It has been said that a hero is someone who runs toward danger when others are running away. By this, and any other standard, our healthcare professionals are true heroes. They rush toward danger because they know that, in its midst, there is someone who needs their help, their hands and their heart. In New Orleans it feels like everyone knows everyone and many of us know of a healthcare hero who has brought a friend or loved one back to health during this crisis or perhaps held their hand during their last moments. I can never say or write enough about the valor of these Tulanians or the debt we owe them.
There are others – students, faculty, staff and alumni, who are doing amazing work in this battle. Some are volunteering to collect masks and other sorely needed protective equipment for medical professionals. Others are sharing their expertise through virtual Town Hall meetings or providing meals and assistance to those who have lost jobs. Many are finding creative ways to connect virtually with the elderly and other vulnerable members of our community who need to know, now more than ever, that someone cares. It all reminds me of something that Mr. Rogers' mother told him when he was a little boy and frightened by the news of the day. She said, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." And this is what I see all around me, Heroes and Helpers.
So as one way of giving these individuals or groups the recognition and thanks they deserve, I am launching "Heroes & Helpers," a new initiative that will regularly spotlight a person or team within the Tulane community engaged in exemplary work on behalf of others as we face this major health crisis of our time. Please send me the name(s) and details of the efforts of a special person or team who is working tirelessly for the benefit of others – and for all of us.