The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown everyone’s lives into uncertainty – from lost jobs and shuttered businesses to childcare challenges and fears for the health of loved ones. The prolonged stay-at-home order has everyone champing at the bit to get out and enjoy what ought to be the glories of spring.

And, yet, the forced isolation has motivated many people to think more broadly about this crisis and about what they might do to play a small part in getting us through all of this.

This week, reporter Bob Skolnik has written a story about just such local efforts to help people who are among those most at risk for being infected – healthcare workers who continue to show up every day to care not only for those who have been victims of the virus but others needing skilled care, like 11-year-old Maxx Kusper, who is waging a separate battle of his own in the ICU.

Before we get to the effort to help healthcare workers, let’s take a moment to recognize the generosity, both monetarily and of spirit, shown by residents of Brookfield and other communities to the Kusper family.

Blue ribbons and signs may seem simply like good wishes, but can you imagine the impact seeing those examples of support must have on Maxx’s parents as they drive to and from visits to their son every day? It has to be nothing short of powerful and has to continue to fill them with the hope an entire community has for their son’s recovery.

Likewise the efforts by individual residents like Tim and Sue Pipal and those they have enlisted in their campaign to make face shields; Riia O’Donnell, who is sewing masks; and the Cadettes of Girl Scout Troop 50021, who are delivering good cheer through cards and cookies, might seem at first glance like a drop in the ocean due to the sheer number of healthcare workers there are, staffing hospitals, rehab facilities, nursing homes and clinics throughout the Chicago metro area.

But, the selfless acts, which have brought a measure of protection and comfort to hundreds of healthcare workers, stand in contrast to the at times stunningly callous response shown by the top leaders of this nation – their abdication of responsibility to protect the nation’s citizens unreservedly.

The efforts by community residents to fill whatever gaps that exist in protecting healthcare workers displays the kind of leadership and initiative required at this time. Yes, its footprint might be small, but there many are others in our own communities and those around us engaged in the same kind of work.

They are using their time, when they themselves are challenged by circumstances, to make sure others are safe.

If what you’ve seen from your neighbors and fellow residents aren’t a silver lining in this very dark cloud of a moment, we really don’t know what is.