Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Real Heroes

A quick search of his archives here reveals that TigerBlog has been judicious in his use of the word "heroic" through the years.

He's glad to be able to say that.

It probably comes from his mother, who was pretty clear with him - and with her own work with paralyzed veterans - that it's not a word to be thrown around lightly.

The last person that TigerBlog referred to as a hero before today was back in November, when he mentioned Hobey Baker and the "heroic" status he achieved mostly through his post-Princeton military career.

Before that, it was a month earlier, in a reference to Tyler Campbell, Class of 1943, who was killed during World War II. Before that, it was talking about his friend Steve DiGregorio and his wife Nadia in their fight against the rare disease that their son Derek, another hero, has had to face for most of his 22 years. Then it was the people who rescued those stranded in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

TigerBlog was thinking about heroes yesterday, after he heard the news that Evan Garfein had tested positive for the Coronavirus. It came by a post from his sister, herself a doctor, and then several others alerted TB.

It was just a week ago that TB wrote about Garfein, a plastic surgeon in New York City who had been pressed into emergency duty treating COVID-19 patients for 12 hour shifts.

Garfein is a 1992 Princeton graduate and an NCAA champion with the men's lacrosse team his senior year. He spoke with TB about the lessons he learned as a lacrosse player, one who worked hard to maximize every ounce of his ability and go from a walk-on for a team that was 2-13 the year before he got there to someone who was on the field in the 10-9 double overtime win over Syracuse on Memorial Day 1992.

His Princeton coach, Bill Tierney, spoke glowingly of Garfein's character and his impact on the team when TB spoke to him last week. Even now, 28 years later, Garfein's role on that first NCAA championship team resonated with the Hall-of-Fame coach.

You can read the story HERE.

If you don't want to read the story, here's how it ended:
Heroes. They're not always the ones who score the winning goals. They are the ones who are there when you need them most. These days, Evan Garfein is one of the heroes in a place and time that desperately needs them.

This was that time.

And so he became the hero that New York needed. And now he's sick.

He knew that there was a pretty good possibility that would happen. He mentioned it when he and TigerBlog spoke last week.

He went into those emergency room shifts anyway.

Who knows how many people he helped, even saved, during his time there. They certainly appreciate that he was there.

The country, in fact the world, is filled now with people who are walking into hospitals to do their parts. They're not all doctors and nurses either. They're hospital staff, researchers, cleaning people, anyone who is vital to the effort to end this madness.

TigerBlog knows some of them. He has a friend named Lisa who is a nurse near Albany who also got sick. He has another friend named Tabitha in Chicago who is also a nurse. She keeps heading in to take care of the ones who need it, doing whatever she can.

Everyone has these stories. Everyone knows someone, or knows someone who knows someone.

They deserve your highest level of respect. They deserve everyone's highest level of respect.

TigerBlog had another entry all written and ready to go before he heard the news about Dr. Garfein. He wondered for a minute if it was appropriate to swap that out and write this.

He decided, obviously, to write this. Why? Because of the same reason that he wrote the original story.

These are times unlike any other that have come along, maybe ever. Most of the world is locked down at home, trying to get work done, watching kids, trying to exercise, trying to have a little fun. watching a lot of TV and spending a lot of time on Zoom.

There are others, though, who are walking straight into the fire. In many ways, they're like the firefighters on 9/11, doing what needs to be done and great personal risk.

When this is over, there will be a lot of people alive who literally will owe their lives to the medical personnel who are currently working those 12-hour shifts. Evan Garfein is one of them.

TB wishes him the best. Get well soon.

After all, there are a shortage of real heroes out there.

1 comment:

Pictures said...

I Coached Evan as a member of the NYC Empire Lacrosse team prior to his time with Coach T at Tiger lax.
Wishing him the best and a speedy recovery!
Also lets not forget about another Tiger and former NYC Empire Alum, Dr. Oliver Barry, fighting the fight at Columbia Pres!
Both of you are my heroes!
Coacha Cook