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Enfield residents work to find silver lining in time of crisis

March 24, 2020 | Vicki Mitchell

ENFIELD, CT – The signs of the times are everywhere. Schools closed, businesses closed, restaurants and bars closed, government offices closed, churches closed, movie theaters and bowling alleys closed, and on and on.  

How are people coping in these unprecedented times?  While there is plenty of “bad” and “sad,” is there a silver lining somewhere?

Reminder Publishing asked, and here’s some of what we found:

Mike Bozek and Samantha DeForest, an engaged couple in their mid-20s, have endured some losses due to the coronavirus outbreak, such as having two major trips that got cancelled, but they are trying to look on the bright side. Samantha said, “My company told everyone with the ability to work from home to do so until further notice. I usually work from home twice a week, so it’s not too drastically different from my normal routine. In my free time, I’m catching up on tv shows, doing housework, reading, going for walks, cooking, and FaceTiming with family and friends. This time in quarantine is teaching me how to use my imagination again, and it’s highlighting the importance of my connections with family and friends. Isolation can be difficult, but I recenter by reminding myself that it’s not just about me – it’s about slowing the spread so health care workers have the time, energy, and supplies they need to help everyone who needs it.”

Mike added, “A couple of really disappointing losses from the shutdown are that our cruise to the Bahamas was cancelled, as well as my trip to Colorado to see my best friend for my bachelor party.  Also, I am definitely missing sports – especially my local team, the Springfield Thunderbirds. Beginning this week, I have started a split work schedule. I am working from home, as well as a couple of days in the office.  I would say a positive thing to come out of this would be the family time and reminder to enjoy the simple things in life.  In my free time, I am reading, playing video games, catching up on shows, housework, and once the weather gets better, doing yard work.”

Kathy and John Danielczuk, empty-nesters, can frequently be seen walking their dog around their Enfield neighborhood.  Kathy, who works as a home healthcare aide, is still seeing her elderly clients, and helping them with their errands.  She said it feels good to be able to help them, and others are being helpful, too, she noted. While taking one client to a local grocery store (she insisted on going herself) another shopper offered to stay with the client while Kathy parked the car.  She also wiped her cart handle, and several store workers asked if they needed help finding items.  They also helped load the groceries into the car for them.  “Good stuff,” Kathy declared.  She also noted that some businesses are offering free services to make life easier, such as cell companies giving out free Wi-Fi hot spots and unlimited data.  Also, some restaurants are delivering meals for free and donating food to soup kitchens and food banks.  Personally, she said she has enjoyed the extra free time for walks, exploring the outdoors, checking in on family and friends, seeing her neighbors outside more often and extra sleep.

 John, recently retired, also noted that it has been nice seeing a lot more of the neighbors, who are now home during the day, and outside more often.  He also appreciates the decrease in traffic, leading to quieter roads, and the additional “free stuff” some on-line companies and services are providing, such as movies and books. He explained that he is pleased that our service networks are coping well with the increased demand for those movies, books, school assignments, and so on.  John also stated he thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a needed wake-up call for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  “Scope creep” within the CDC has diverted funds away from its primary mission of preventing dangerous communicable diseases, he says.  “That’s one of the reasons the CDC was very slow in getting test kits  out to the testing labs, and why so few people have been tested so far,” he believes.

Ann Di-Maria Haines said, “What I’ve found difficult as a retiree is not being able to go to the Senior Center for my fitness classes. On the positive side, I’m getting to read more. People are coming together to help each other, especially those who can’t get out because they don’t drive.  Hopefully, people are turning to God because of the virus. Another biggie is that people are taking personal hygiene more seriously, like washing your hands, covering your mouth or nose when you sneeze and wiping down surfaces in your home.”

Steve and Jessica Menard have young children at home; Charlotte is 10 and Liam is 4.  Jessica has been working from home since the Enfield schools closed, and Steve began working from home as of March 23. They explained that they realize not everyone has that luxury, and they are very grateful that they do.  “Nothing I’ve experienced in my lifetime could have prepared me for the current state of the world, and it’s unsettling, to say the least,” said Jessica.  “The kids and I haven’t left the house other than to play in the yard or bike around the block…our family is doing the small part we can and is staying put.  Now, like many other families, we’re attempting to balance working from home and helping our kids continue some form of education. We’re fortunate to have passionate educators in town and have been provided numerous online learning resources. I’m thankful for the unexpected exponential increase in family time; however, I am even more grateful for those who are helping to care for both the health and daily needs of those across the world.”

Some may argue that there are “silver linings” a few silver linings that can be found during this trying time, from more time spent being active outside, to more time to spend reading, cooking, sleeping, catching up on the yard, housework, other projects, appreciating your friends and family, developing your hobbies, and more.

The town of Enfield continues to operate smoothly in providing for critical daily needs.  Police Chief Alaric Fox said, “We are continuing all essential department functions with a great deal of caution in place in an effort to promote the safety of the public and our personnel.  Our priority is to ensure a continued pool of emergency responders to address community concerns and we are confident that we will be able to do so.”

Town Council member Carl Sferrazza pointed out that although the town council meetings have temporarily been suspended, the coordination between the town government, the schools, the health department  and  emergency services has been “great.”  “All of the essential services are being taken care of,” he said.

Finally, according to Enfield Town Manager Christopher Bromson, “There’s been an outpouring of support and offers of help from residents, employees, and local businesses.  I’m an optimistic person, and based on what I’ve seen as far as people coming together and volunteering to help, I believe we will come out the other end of this stronger than before.”

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