Steffens Law - June 2020 Broken Bow: (308) 872-8327 Kearney: (308) 224-3325

Grand Island: (308) 675-1355 North Platte: (308) 221-6204

Lincoln: (402) 403-3025 Omaha: (402) 401-2864

June 2020

The Path to Becoming a Hero Perseverance Through Our Masks

The pandemic has forced everyone to make hard decisions, decisions that would’ve been unimaginable in January. But now, every day, we’re faced with common choices to alter the transmission of this virus — and one of those choices includes whether or not to wear a mask. It’s hard to imagine how many lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Every life cut short deeply affected a spouse, a child, a brother, or a sister —many family members were left grief-stricken. Many of us prefer not to think about it. Yet we are aware of it. Why, then, have simple choices to protect our community’s health created such a divide? It’s certainly not because we’re inconsiderate or lack the will to do so. What happened to the catchphrase “We’re all in this together”? In the past century, there have been a number of times when decisions made by everyday people had a huge impact on the lives of their fellow Americans: personal decisions spurred during time of war, international conflicts, humanitarian crises, disasters, terrorist attacks like 9/11, and other critical moments in history when Americans sacrificed many aspects of their daily lives (or even gave their lives) to protect others. Today, that battlefield isn’t on another continent; it’s right in our own neighborhoods. Is wearing a mask nowadays to help protect others just too big a sacrifice to ask? I live in a very small town with two grocery stores. There are only three stoplights, and I’ve heard we only added a third one for looks! If you pause a little too long at a green light, then nobody honks at you. It’s hard to take a walk too far from your house because of the many people who will stop and ask if you need a lift. And if you just need a gallon of milk and some eggs, your grocery store trip often feels like a

become a personal project for me and some other concerned citizens to start up the “Be a Community Masked Hero” campaign. No matter how old or young our community members may be, we feel like it’s important to protect not only ourselves but also each other. Through our campaign, we hope to support and promote the production and distribution of enough masks for everyone who needs one. Wearing a mask can’t alone protect us against this virus without the right social distancing and disinfectant practices, but for every community, it’s a step in the right direction. Even if I only live in a small town in Nebraska — or maybe especially because I’m in such a small part of our nation — I’m confident that if enough caring people, good people like you, can make this small sacrifice as a courtesy to protect others and show we are willing to do our part to fight the spread of this virus, then others will follow. One mask at a time.

social outing rather than a quick errand; you’ll always run into some friendly people to catch up with. For those reasons and many more, I absolutely love it here. But I’ve started to notice that, despite all of our neighborhood’s friendliness and compassion for each other, many people don’t wear masks. Even some of the leaders in our community don’t wear masks. If science experts tell us we can save lives through simple differences like wearing a mask in public places, then why wouldn’t we do that, even if it’s a little uncomfortable or uncool? It’s hard to wear a mask if you’re in the minority of people doing it, truthfully. But I’m also painfully aware of how challenging it would be for our community if just one of our grocery stores closed down due to this virus, considering how many people our grocery workers come into contact with. While one of our grocery stores has started to carry disinfectant, gloves, and masks, I think it’s important to extend free homemade fabric masks to all community retail stores. It’s

-Bill Steffens | 1

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