"We are all in this together."
These are simple but powerful words. We keep hearing them as our global community responds to the COVID-19 coronavirus. If humanity follows these words as a blueprint for behavior in the coming months, we will overcome this challenge.
"We are all in this together" also is the mantra for the city of Hilliard's ongoing response to support our own community.
From the Hilliard Division of Police to the city's public-services, maintenance and "behind-the-scenes" employees to the Norwich Township Fire Department, we are fulfilling our responsibilities as public servants to ensure that Hilliard continues to be safe and healthy, that essential services are maintained and that our residents and our businesses are informed.
Just as importantly, we look to each of you -- residents, business owners and those who work in this community -- to play your crucial part of weathering this storm. Indeed, each of us has a civic duty to do our part during this crisis.
How can community members fulfill their civic duty?
* Check on neighbors, especially if they are older or have health conditions. During most emergencies, it's human nature to congregate, but a unique challenge of this crisis is that we are all being asked to self-isolate, which promotes loneliness and even depression.
* Give to a local nonprofit. Numerous organizations are working to help our Hilliard nonprofits. One opportunity to give is to the Hilliard Community Foundation's Emergency Coronavirus Support Fund. Every Hilliard City Council member has made financial contributions to this effort, which directly benefits community nonprofit organizations that are supporting residents who have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis. Find details and donate at hilliardcommunityfoundation.org/w.
* Respect social-distancing and "stay-at-home" orders. It's our civic and patriotic duty to avoid taking unnecessary trips to places where even small groups of people gather. You might think you will be fine if you contract COVID-19, but it's not just about you. It's also about every other person to whom you could spread the virus. The key to minimizing the impact of COVID-19 is to stop its transfer from one person to another.
* Get information directly from legitimate sources like the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Franklin County Public Health and health-care providers. Be skeptical and do not post or forward information you see on social media unless you have verified that it comes from actual medical professionals.
* If you need to call emergency services, such as police or EMTs, be honest and upfront about any flu-like symptoms you might have. First responders need to stay safe, too, but they do not have the resources to wear personal-protective gear for every call. So if you have flu-like symptoms, tell the dispatchers when you call.
* Support local restaurants and other small businesses. If you can, order food for takeout or delivery, and tip more than you normally would.
* Last but not least, be kind to one another. We are all under additional stress, but remember: This is a team effort, and a situation like this is when all can come together -- while maintaining 6 feet of separation, of course.
Andy Teater is president of Hilliard City Council.