Originally published in The Gettysburg Times, the following Letter to the Editor from Experience to Lead facilitator Chuck Burkell shares wonderful insights on expressing gratitude during times of crisis  – like the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Read the letter:

Dear Editor of The Gettysburg Times,

During this “never in our lifetime” global COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have had moments during the past few weeks to reflect, to realize what is important, and to offer gratitude to so many. I publicly offer mine to those who fly to our aid, offering thoughts, prayers, and expressions of gratitude for the weeks to come. I begin with the physicians, nurses, aides, technicians, administrators and all health care workers, who are on the leading edges of combatting this epidemic. This includes the private sector engaged in medical research and production of items that we now need. Thank you to officials at all levels of government, local, state, and federal – who have been tirelessly standing up and attempting to do what is right, within uncertainty, shortages, and an everchanging environment. Particularly, thank you to the scientists and staff at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Food & Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and many other federal – state- and local agencies, all who have directly enlisted in the cause on our behalf. And thank you to members of our military, who still are protecting us throughout the world, and rising to the occasion here in the U.S., such as our National Guard women and men, while being separated from their families during this most uncertain time.

Thank you to our local emergency medical, fire services, and law enforcement personnel, some of whom actually volunteer, continuing to provide services while at personal risk. Special thanks to our fellow Adams County citizens staffing grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, restaurants, utilities, trash and refuse services, postal clerks, delivery personnel, teachers/educators, and bank tellers, all providing food and important services that we need to live. Kudos to our local farmers, orchard growers, and agricultural communities who are still mindful of what is planted, or about to plant, so that we have fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, and pretzels and chips later this year in the midst of this pandemic.

And a special thank you to our media at the local, state, and national levels. Without this voice and guidance, the information printed and/or transmitted, their questioning and acting on our behalf to seek and share information while clarifying ambiguity just simply would not occur. Without a media role to help resolve this epidemic, many more would die, and our government of democracy “for the people, by the people” would not exist. Our churches and clergy have been reaching out, emailing, broadcasting, streaming services, contacting us, reminding us of the power of God to comfort and heal, encouraging and being faithful to the faithful. Thank you. While I mentioned certain groups within this letter, and I apologize for any omissions, it is fair to say that nearly every American should be thanked by every other American at this moment. We are all in this together, at least we should be.

One of the profound moments of history occurred 80 years ago in Europe, particularly France, during World War II. Known as “the resistance”, a movement when women and men acted in silence with peril, resisted the invasion and occupation of the Nazis. This resulted in the massive executions of millions of people, to become known as the Holocaust. Among those who resisted, many were sent to death camps, separated from families, and executed by the Nazis. But they saved thousands, maybe their country, maybe the world. They assisted the Allies with the D-Day invasion at Normandy France. Yes, we now are at war, with a very different enemy, but at least some similarities. One of the lessons that emerged from those who resisted, is this thought: “You cannot hope to live…. if you wait”. During this time, I say thanks to so many and will try to continue my gratitude towards them. I offer that it is something we should all do, for every thank you said, written, or signed….is a form of resistance to defeat this silent killer, COVID-19. We are all going to have to practice this gratitude for a long time.

Thank you

Chuck Burkell – Gettysburg Pennsylvania