CULTON: Our heroes are those who are fighting for our safety

When you think superheroes, your mind probably jumps to images of caped crusaders, web-slinging fighters and masked vigilantes.

However, lately, when I think of superheroes, I think of people closer to home. They may still wear masks, but instead of providing a fashionable way for the superhero to conceal their identity, the covers offer a layer of protection. Instead of fighting crime, these local superheroes are fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Tuesday was National Superhero Day, which was initially created in 1995 by employees at Marvel Comics. While the day was certainly intended to celebrate the likes of Hulk, Captain America and Superman, this year, I thought it was worth celebrating our local superheroes — the people on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic — our nurses, doctors, EMS workers, home health aides, hospice workers and other healthcare workers.

If you have driven past one of our hospitals recently, you might have seen signs that say “heroes work here.” To me, the signs tell the truth. Our healthcare workers are people putting their own health at risk to help others. They could stay home. They could run scared, but they do not. They are still showing up to work and serving the community daily, despite the scary time we are living through. If I ever heard a description of a superhero, that would be it.

Even though National Superhero Day may be over, we can still celebrate our healthcare superheroes — and there are plenty of ways to do so. You could, like many businesses in our area, send a free lunch or coffee to local healthcare workers. You could make cloth masks to donate.  Maybe you could send them flowers. Even just a simple “thank-you” would go a long way toward showing appreciation to those in healthcare who are working harder than ever under extremely stressful conditions.

However, I think the best thing any of us can do to show respect and appreciate to our healthcare workers is to stay home. Don’t go out unless you have to, and when you do, follow the state-recommended guidelines for social distancing, such as maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and wearing a mask when in an enclosed public space.

The more we can do to flatten the curve of the virus, the safer we can keep the healthcare workers who have to interact with COVID-19 patients day in and day out. That way, we can help them continue to be superheroes to the people who need them most.