Special Edition of The Ripon Forum highlights how Americans are putting their time & talents to work in the fight against COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC — As the nation and the world continues its battle against the coronavirus pandemic, The Ripon Forum is focusing on how Americans are putting their time and talents to work in the fight.

“The Ripon Society has long believed that America works best when Americans work together,” writes Forum editor Lou Zickar in a note to introduce this Special Edition.  “And so with a global pandemic paralyzing our country and the world, we decided to publish a Special Edition of The Ripon Forum focused on those Americans who are doing just that.

“Over the past month, we reached out to businesses and non-profit organizations that are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.  We wanted to know more about the challenges they are facing as a result of the pandemic.  We also wanted to hear any first-hand accounts of how their employees and volunteers are overcoming these challenges to keep Americans safe and secure during this tenuous time.”

According to Zickar, businesses and non-profit organizations featured in this Special Edition of the Forum include: Advocate Aurora Health, Amazon, American Trucking Association, the Computing Technology Industry Association, Covenant House, CVS, FedEx, Feeding America, the Food Marketing Institute, General Motors, The Home Depot, Honda North America, PhRMA, Sanofi, UPS, and the USO.

“The stories that we heard are truly inspiring,” Zickar writes.  “From automakers retooling their production lines to make ventilators and personal protective equipment to drug manufacturers shifting their focus to finding a treatment and a cure to clerks and drivers working overtime to make sure our grocery shelves are full, the story of the past six weeks has been a story of Americans at their best.

“Americans like Neil Ehmig, a military veteran serving as a trauma nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois who picked up an extra overnight shift to help with the fight against COVID-19.  ‘When I walk into work,” Ehmig says, “I feel a sense of pride now more than ever.’

“Or take Sister Nancy Downing, the Executive Director of Covenant House in New York City.  To meet the new demands of the current crisis, she and her team recently converted their offices near the Lincoln Tunnel into bedrooms where they can provide care to sick children and youth in one of the hardest-hit parts of the nation.

“Steven Richardson is another example of an American rising to the challenge.  A truck driver with Big G Express, he has switched from hauling Jack Daniel’s whiskey to another product for which there is an overwhelming demand these days — hand sanitizer.

“Another American rising to the challenge is Jami Clark.  A FedEx Express Global Operations Control specialist, C-17 pilot, and member of the Tennessee Air National Guard, Jami took to the skies earlier this spring to pilot a joint overseas mission with the U.S. Armed Forces, transporting nearly one million test swabs from Italy in under 80 hours.

“And then there is Debbie Hollis.  A General Motors employee and member of the UAW Local in Indiana, Debbie is helping to build ventilators at the GM plant in Kokomo — a challenge she compares to World War II.  ‘I’m grateful that I get a chance to do my part and be a part of something,” she says.  “We are modern-day Rosie the Riveters.’

“Of course, Debbie Hollis, Jami Clark, and the others mentioned above are not alone.  Across the country, tens of thousands of Americans are quietly rising to the challenge themselves — serving in the hospitals, driving the delivery trucks, working the production lines, volunteering at the local food banks, and performing and providing the countless other jobs and services that are helping us get by at a time when we need their help the most. For these individuals, working from home is not an option, and the risk of catching the coronavirus is a risk they live with and work with everyday.

“At a time when the headlines are filled with bad news, these Americans are providing us with uplifting and inspirational stories that give all of us confidence that America and the world will see a better day.  For these Americans, we dedicate this Special Edition of The Ripon Forum.  And most of all, we give them our thanks.”

The Ripon Forum is published six times a year by The Ripon Society, a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.