A Message from the CDC: ‘Rejecting the paralysis of fear’

By Bobby Seiferman, Executive Director

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13

As our leaders continue to grapple with the Herculean task of dealing with a pandemic, each and every one of us also deals with the ever-morphing disruptions to our day-to-day lives.

Whether we are small business owners, educators, public administrators, retirees or economic developers, it is incumbent on each and every one of us to recommit to our earlier resolve to stand strong together.

This is true, particularly as our kids and teachers re-assimilate into the classroom after such a long absence.

Resistance to the aforementioned disruptions is not futile, but succumbing to fear and anxiety only enables the symptoms of the pandemic and adds an undeserved asterisk to the history books.

As a kid and the oldest of four, I worried constantly about my dad as he patrolled the back roads on many a dark night alone. My dad was a DPS trooper in Matagorda County for many years. I can remember standing in our kitchen and watching him scrub his hands with soap for what seemed like hours as he attempted to remove the burned skin of a body that was stuck to his own hands after he had dragged the person out of a burning car. But he dealt, in his own way I suppose, with so many similar situations over the years. Like many war vets, he seldom talked about it.

When it came to my father’s safety, I just remember my mother telling me she had put it in God’s hands a long time ago.

By comparison, as the Spanish flu pandemic raged, October 1918 was its deadliest month, claiming 675,000 Americans, just a month prior to the armistice. A $5 fine was assessed for not wearing gauze masks at the time and public service posters stated, “Obey the laws, wear the gauze.” Then as now, the pandemic brought on a period of great fear and social calamity.

President Eisenhower’s televised speech in April 1954 to the American people in what would be referred to later as the “multiplicity of fears” message, ardently challenged Americans to face our adversities without fear, honestly and headlong, “so that we do not develop the jitters or any other kind of panic and that we do not fall prey to hysterical thinking.”

And in this spirit of true American grit, I acknowledge and commend the efforts of the Cuero community as a whole. Great job first responders, chamber of commerce, main street program, healthcare providers, community leaders, local media outlets, educators, nonprofits and the faith community. And also a Cuero Development Corporation board that readily facilitates economic assistance to Cuero business retention, expansion, façade improvement and major employer recruitment.

I especially want to thank the efforts of the Cuero December Special Events Committee that works tirelessly all year, even through a pandemic, to bring you an award-winning and even bigger Christmas in the Park. The opening night is Nov. 23. If you would like to volunteer, contact the CDC office.

Additionally, the IC2 Institute through the University of Texas recently reached out to the city of Cuero. The program partnered with 90 rural communities including various local stakeholders. The institute worked to ascertain the social, economic and health fallout from COVID-19 to communities. The program utilized 90 students comprising the largest summer internship program at the University of Texas. Cuero will also partner with IC2 in its regional XLR8 program that will collect community feedback on research results. The CDC looks forward to sharing those results with the community.

Finally, some will read this explanatory piece and surmise that perhaps its contents were lacking a certain objectivity. But each and every one of us in these uncertain times is front and center in the pages of history. And what we write on those pages is what our children will remember us by.

Also published in Sunday, September 13, 2020 edition of The Victoria Advocate….