Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Response to health crisis at Shoreham farm was inspiring

I am a student of leadership and of human behavior. This past week I was amazed at the example of astonishing leadership behavior and human behavior in the wake of a serious incident.
Last Monday there was a very serious farming accident at one of the Shoreham dairy farms. I was one of the first to arrive after immediate family and first responders. I have not witnessed a more amazingly positive response to such a negative situation. The dairy owner, Jeep Madison, the victim of the accident, is recovering at UVM Medical Center in Burlington. He is expected to make a full recovery.
In the wake of this serious accident I witnessed medical and first responders step up decisively with professionalism, courage, compassion, precision and teamwork. Great work!
I witnessed the victim respond courageously with humor to put family and first responders at ease.
I witnessed a wife respond courageously with loving care and words of encouragement for her husband and sons.
I witnessed sons who tended to their dad in love with providing initial medical care and support, then stepping up to ensure the continued daily operation of the farm in their dad’s absence. I am witnessing them grow and gain maturity during a crisis situation. How good is that?
I witnessed family members and friends offer their full support, love, prayers and service. It is during their trying times that family and friends grow closer together.
I witnessed fellow farmers and friends step up to offer their services to help work the farm in addition to and in spite of their own farms and jobs.
I witnessed, and continue to witness, a community rally around one of their own Shoreham neighbors in need, offering meals, prayers and a hand to lend.
I continue to witness authentic acts of selflessness, compassion, caring, service, pulling together and love demonstrated by so many. Thank you!
In times of tragedy, accidents or emergencies, we are people who rally together with a sense of community. Absolutely amazing. We are good at putting the needs of others first, acting selflessly not selfishly during these types of situations.
Looking back I realize that we often forget to be thankful, to value community and the things that bind us together in a positive way. We are all much more alike than we are different, even though at times it is difficult to recognize and to admit. We can drift to a point where we lose sight of all the things and the blessings that make us so rich.
This past week has rekindled my faith in the human spirit. I have witnessed leadership and human behavior lessons that are more easily caught than taught — lessons so difficult to teach but more easily understood when seen in action.
Let’s make a conscious decision to extend these same attitudes and actions beyond medical or emergency situations to all areas of our lives. These same characteristics of patience, compassion, caring, selflessness, service, stepping up to lend a hand, sense of community, and yes, even love, are what made this nation amazing.
Yes, this week in the wake of a tragic accident I have witnessed:
The spirit that makes Shoreham great.
The spirit that makes Addison County great.
The spirit that makes Vermont great.
The spirit that makes America amazing.
How blessed are we? How blessed am I?
Richard Tanhauser
Shoreham

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