by Kevin Shannahan
Our community came together Sunday, March 29, in a moving prayer service held in the packed parking lot of the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. The service was held to lift up in prayer, love and support the men and women working in every area of the hospital as well as our first responders. In order to maintain social distancing, people stayed in their cars and listened to the service with the windows rolled down.
The service was put together over the course of a few days by a group of local men and women who saw the need and quickly put the service together. Bro. Mike McGrath of First Baptist Church gave an inspired opening prayer after which DJ Leonard Sarpy played a variety of Christian music for the service. Ms. Christie Price gave the closing prayer. As the crowd drove away, the air was filled with horns as the congregation let the people of NRMC, law enforcement and fire service that they were loved and appreciated.
As America faces this time of trial, people all over the country are rising to the challenge. Masks are being sewn by thousands of individuals who saw a need and got to work. Face shields are being produced in factories all over the country. One design being used came from an engineer in Wisconsin whose wife, an anesthesiologist, tried on prototypes and helped with advice on infection control and other medical aspects. The University of Wisconsin Hospital now has the face shields they needed and the design is openly available for use by others. I have no doubt that a vaccine will be invented for this disease soon. There are a lot of hard working, smart people working tirelessly on it.
The nation’s character is also revealed in the many acts of kindness and regard for community we see every day. From bear hunts to entertain children to people buying meals for tired truck drivers making deliveries, all of these thousands of acts of unsolicited volunteerism show a side of America that is still very much present in our land.
As I looked at the people in their cars at the service, I saw people of every race and circumstance. They were from every denomination, and probably a few from none. Rich and poor, Black and White, from different faiths-none of that mattered, They had gathered together to pray for the men and women who come to work every day to keep our community safe. This night was America at its finest. President Eisenhower put it best “There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”