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Heidi Rambo Centrella

As children, most of us grew up watching superheroes defeat the villains by way of television and the silver screen. Whether Saturday mornings or Saturday nights, we applauded the strength and bravery of fictional characters who were fighting to do good in the world, or some version of it similar to our own. Many of us even fantasized about becoming such heroes—maybe for just one day of the year, our identities behind a mask, when we dressed like them on Halloween and went door-to-door hoping for a haul of treats.

Then we grew older. And while mighty paragons in colorful costumes are more plentiful than ever in movies and TV, we grapple in our adulthoods with more nuanced and less punchable problems. As a mother of two grown children, I’m reminded that my adolescent and young-adult years were in some ways simpler than theirs and their peers’. It was something of a reality check when my son—turning 20 next month—recently said to me, “Mom, you’ll never understand what being a teenager has been like for my friends and me.” My daughter—turning 29 this month—went back to school to finish her degree while working full time and raising two young boys. No, I will never understand what growing up in today’s world has been like for them. Both were fully vaccinated; both contracted COVID-19; both dealt with the isolation and fear that accompanies solitude in quarantine. 

While neither of them experienced the comfort of a caped crusader swooping in to save the day, they did have access to modern-day superheroes who worked tirelessly to save those in peril: They had nurses, doctors and counselors. And they had a safe environment. The same can’t be said for all too many.

I’ve been surrounded by superheroes my entire life. My mother, my sisters and many of my nieces all either currently work or have worked in the health care industry; all have worked on a medical frontline at one point or another during their lifetimes. 

We have all needed a health care hero at one time, or several, during our lives. And we at Gulfshore Business think it’s high time to recognize those heroes here at home. The medical professionals, the scientists, the emergency medical technicians, the volunteers, the voices on the other end of the phone. When facing a medical emergency, no matter the level of severity, there is no greater level of reassurance than that which comes from a health care professional. 

To all of you who put your personal best interests aside to care for others, to listen, to help heal, to hold a hand or serve a meal, we thank you. You’re deserving of much more than words on paper, but we would like to express our gratitude in the way we are best able. And while we know we’re not yet at the end, we thank you for your ongoing efforts to see us through this time. Thank you, heroes. We salute you.

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