March 27 was as tumultuous a day as any in the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide numbers surrounding deaths and the infected continued to climb the curve with no plateau in sight. In addition, the President signed the CARES Stimulus Act into Law in an effort to keep the economy afloat as non-essential businesses shuttered from coast to coast.
However, 56 years earlier, this day held significance because of the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964, a devastating 9.2 magnitude event that killed 131 people and tallied about $311 million (in 1964 dollars) in damages.
It was just a few years after The Cuban Missile Crisis and nuclear Armageddon was an all too real bogeyman. At the time, a team of sociologists from The Ohio State University saw the events impacting 100,00 Anchorage citizens as the closest surrogate to nuclear fallout. How would the local populace react and conduct itself when faced with a similar extreme disaster?
The assumption was it would be every man for himself. It would be lawlessness. People would succumb to a mass outbreak of hysterical neurosis – events that play out in post-apocalyptic movies. However, when the odds were against these Alaskans, the very opposite proved to be true.
Upon touching down a day after the quake, researchers were shocked to find a population meeting their situation with collaboration and compassion. People banded together to do as much for as many people as possible. They proved that beyond what you may believe about our baser instincts, people are generally good and are good to each another.
Fast forward a half century and this notion continues to be true. OK, there were incidents of hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer at the onset of this crisis, but this died down as people got control of their emotions.
Over recent weeks what I’ve witnessed from the snow and ice management industry are examples of selflessness and numerous acts of kindness. Contractors and industry suppliers are utilizing their own resources to gather and donate supplies to local hospitals and healthcare facilities. They’re sharing with each other best practices for self-isolation to stop the virus in its tracks. They’re sewing protective masks and formulating their own brands of hand sanitizers. Like in numerous other industries, you’re emerging as heroes in your own way during this crisis.
It’s important to note, too, that Project Evergreen’s SnowCare/LawnCare for Troops has expanded its mission to organize volunteer services from throughout the industry to assist the families of frontline healthcare workers, the soldiers in this war against the Coronavirus. Check them out online to get involved.
In this time of crisis we’re given two choices – to do something, or to do nothing. If you’re not already engaged, I urge you to commit to the former. Stand with your peers and help them prove to the industry, your communities, your nation and the world that people are essentially good, and more importantly, we’re good to one another. Stay health and keep washing your hands!