Every year, a month or two before the annual class reunions my high school holds, a letter gets sent out asking for nominees for Alumnae of the Year. Over the years I’ve seen captains of industry, famous medical practitioners, amazing entrepreneurs, get nominated and win. And every year, I think to myself, what we really need is an award for all those who Just Show Up, every day, at some thankless job, do it well, and never get any recognition for it.
You all know someone who’d be eligible, chances are good you yourself might be such a one. But I want to go out of my way today, to thank all those who do those thankless jobs, because they deserve some recognition, perhaps even more so than those who win things like Alumnae of the Year.
- The volunteer fireman who soothes a frightened teenager at the scene of an auto accident.
- The worker at the local food bank who gives of her own time and energy to help those in need.
- The lawyer who goes out of his way to work many more than the required pro bono cases per year.
- The school bus driver who’s up at the crack of dawn dealing with yelling, unruly kids every day and who never loses her temper.
- The girl behind the counter at the Dunkin’ Donuts who is cheerful and smiles at everyone, even if they’re grumpy when they pick up their coffee and corn muffin.
- The ER nurse who, even after 30-odd years of having seen just about it all, still cares for each patient as if they were the first and only one there.
- The parent at home at 4 am with a toddler who has been sick from both ends all over himself and his bed, keeping it all together and cleaning it up while comforting the child.
- The snow plow driver who works through the night and into the next day, to ensure the roads are safe for people to drive on.
- The single adult child who moves in with an aging parent to ensure that his siblings can sleep through the night knowing their parent is in good hands.
- The garbage truck drivers, the ditch diggers, the guys who fix the electric lines in the huge ice storm, going for days without sleep so the power can come back on sooner.
- The farmer who wipes the sweat out of his eyes with his sleeve as he works the field in high summer, ensuring we have food to eat.
- The teacher who spends hours of her own time and money from her own pocket with students in trouble to ensure they get what they need to learn.
- The state troopers and police officers who every day put their lives on the line to make sure we’re able to be safe in our homes and our kids can get to school without fear.
- And the soldiers, please, let’s not ever forget the soldiers! Those who, every day, devote their lives to the ideals we sometimes take for granted, and for which all too often they make the ultimate sacrifice.
So just this once, for all of those listed above, and all those like them, I’d like to offer up this simple “Thanks!” For everyone who gets up in the morning and puts one foot in front of the other to be of service to the rest of us, our most humble thanks. And may God bless you!