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Recognizing Local Heroes

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 17, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. SCANLON. Mr. Speaker, over the last 10 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our communities: from our frontline heroes working around the clock to families who have gone hungry, to the millions who have lost their jobs, and, heartbreakingly, the over 300,000 who have lost their lives.

While many of us believe that the Federal Government can and still should do much more to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, we all can be inspired by the compassion, innovation, and resilience of the people in our communities who have stepped up to serve and to try to fill the needs laid bare by this crisis. They are our local heroes.

A few weeks ago, my office launched a local heroes initiative to showcase the countless people in Pennsylvania's Fifth Congressional District who have gone above and beyond to help those in need throughout this crisis. In just the first few days, we received over 100 submissions, and it has grown since then.

From nurses on our front lines to children organizing food drives, we were overwhelmed by the stories of resilience, ingenuity, and absolute determination by members of our community whose stories we don't hear enough. So, today, I want to share a few of their stories.

I am talking about people like Nicole, an emergency manager, who is now serving our community by running two emergency rooms due to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases. Aunt Nee Nee, as she is known to her beloved nieces and nephews, has only been able to see her family for limited amounts of time, if at all, since the pandemic started.

People like Jillian, a mom of three, who regularly works 15-hour shifts in the ER, then comes home, disposes of her scrubs in a bin so she can hug her kids and help them do their schoolwork. She is a real- life superhero.

Young people like Emily, just 14 years old, who, when she realized that some children in our community would be without holiday gifts this year, organized a toy drive, contributing her babysitting money and recruiting her younger brother and sisters to help make cards and wrap the gifts.

People like Michelle, a nonprofit leader, who has ensured that our LGBTQ communities are not left behind during this crisis; working to secure housing, food, and medications for immunocompromised community members.

Teachers like Jimmy, from Upper Darby, who knows how hard this transition has been for both students and teachers. So he has gone above and beyond to share acts of kindness, like dropping off doughnuts for his fellow teachers or helping students get help to obtain the technology they need for virtual learning.

People like Ala Stanford and the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, who organized free COVID testing for our most at-risk communities when it became apparent that they could not otherwise obtain testing.

County employees, like Ed and Gayle, who have reinvented and organized dozens of drive-thru food drives to help feed our neighbors and keep the donors safe.

These local heroes should inspire all of us, no matter what our party, to fight for more relief that the American people deserve.

Every day we delay getting relief to them means more businesses go under, people get sicker, more Americans die, and families are stretched even thinner financially. We have got to get this done. The American people cannot wait.

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