Pulling Together

by
Richard Foster, Treasurer, FCNI Board of Directors

 It's not uncommon to see two youthful brothers fighting. On the way to dinner, they push each other to see who gets there first. At the table, they argue about who got the bigger piece of pie. On the way to the park, they fight about who will carry the football; it never occurs to them to agree to let one of them carry it to the park and the other back home. There is no interest in "reasonable" solutions; it's all about contention. And sometimes the contention gets excessive.

But...let someone else--an outsider--intervene, and then both brothers team up against "the outsider."  They are inseparable allies. The interloper does not stand a chance.

That's kind of the way we interact as a nation. We fight like crazy--sometimes about silly and insignificant things--when things are going well. And sometimes we fight about really important stuff, like we did during the Civil War. And then someone from the outside intervenes. We saw this when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. As Admiral Yamamoto said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” And he was absolutely correct. The United States mobilized the whole nation to support the World War II effort, emerging as the only national superpower and controlling 75% of the world's wealth four years later.

That's what freedom is like; it’s part of our culture to vehemently debate, yet pull together to fight a common enemy.

Today, our nation is going through another kind of crisis, the COVID-19 virus. Try to imagine what it was like for President Trump when the Health Care experts told him we would need to implement social distancing and severely limit travel; the economic impact would be astronomical. At first, there certainly was an element of disbelief; the last significant Public Health threat was the Spanish flu 1918 worldwide pandemic. The Spanish flu infected one quarter of the world's population of 1.8 Billion people, with somewhere between 17 Million and 100 Million deaths. With today's US population of 330 Million and assuming an equivalent death rate for COVID-19, somewhere between 3 Million and 18 Million people could die over a 9-month period. The estimated deaths from the COVID-19 virus were as high as 2.2 million Americans. What would you do?

Start with shutting down travel to/from China (the source). Then get 330,000,000 people to isolate themselves from each other. How would it be possible to get 330 million people to voluntarily distance themselves from each other--at the expense of significant economic damage? No small task. And yet, for the most part, it has happened, and it has happened in a remarkably short time. Rather than competing for scarce resources, states are working together (Reference Oregon sending 140 ventilators to New York - where they are needed).  Yes, there are still a few who are not on board. Yes, there are some who are using this tragedy as an opportunity to push an agenda or are hoarding valuable supplies (hand sanitizer, toilet paper!?).  But fortunately for the sake of our nation, these are a minority. We had more dissenters during the Revolutionary War than we do now.

 So what does all this have to do with Family Care Network?  Actually, a great deal. First, the employees of Family Care Network--the Social Workers and Rehabilitation Specialists who provide in-home counseling, as well as the Foster Parents--are all still providing the necessary services to those members of our society most in need. Yes, we are using more technical solutions to minimize face-to-face contact, but where there is a need, the workers of Family Care Network are doing their job. Second, as many of you already know, we have had to cancel one of our long-standing fundraisers, Miracle Miles for Kids.  But, there has already been a miracle--our sponsors agreed to support Family Care Network financially during this time of crisis anyway.  And many race participants have generously agreed to let FCNI keep their entrance fee. A few have requested a refund, but these are tough times; these people are undoubtedly hurting financially, and they probably need these funds more than FCNI. Others who had no intention of participating in the MM4K race are instead making pledges. So far, we have raised $72,816! Yes, that is short of what we normally raise from the Miracle Miles event, but still very impressive and much appreciated. 

The American spirit of unity during a crisis is alive and well among the supporters of Family Care Network, and we very much appreciate them.