Heroes of the Winter Storms

“Pay to all what is owed to them … respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7)

This handwritten note was given to me after worship last weekend: “Pastor Chris, A prayer request: for the men and women working to restore our utility services, despite long hours and harsh conditions. They face the same personal challenges as the rest of us, but give tirelessly of themselves so that we may live normal lives.

“And for the leaders of our utility services. May they have wisdom to learn from the errors made, the courage to make things better for our future, and the perseverance to continue in the face of withering criticism.”

In the aftermath of the winter storms that crippled our region, much has been made of failures at the top – poor planning and bad decisions. I appreciate the prayer request also drawing our attention to a very positive side of the story: the everyday workers who labored during the crisis to make sure residents had their heat, electricity, and water. To these workers: Thank you!

I’ve noticed a very good trend lately of lifting up often-unnoticed workers who serve the public good. Medical workers are an example. Our church has been providing medical worker appreciation lunches. Many nursing homes and rehab facilities have “Heroes Work Here” letters on their front lawns. Those who serve in the medical field deserve our heartfelt thanks for their sacrificial service during the pandemic.

Many people expressed gratitude to the employees of HEB for their outstanding services during the winter storms. One story has been widely circulated. At an HEB, the power went out. Customers were told to keep what they had already taken from the shelves and head to their cars. No charge for anything.

That same week, a number of social media posts lifted up the excellent public service of our police, firefighters, and first responders. For them, we are deeply grateful.

It’s wonderful to see respect and honor given to well-deserving men and women!

Leadership consultant David Novak wrote an article titled Breaking through the Recognition Deficit. He reports that according to a study, 88 percent of people feel underappreciated by their colleagues and 82 percent feel unrecognized by their supervisors. The numbers reveal a lot of missed opportunities for appreciation!

In the same article, Novak relates this story about former Secretary of State Colin Powell: “When Colin was a kid, he worked at a Pepsi Bottling Plant. Every day, Colin mopped up syrup off the floor. At the end of the summer, the foreman came up to Colin and said, ‘Son, I have watched you every single day. You’ve done such a great job. You never left until the floors were spick and span.’ Colin shared this story with me after his term ended as Secretary of State. The words of the foreman are still remembered and taught Colin about the power of recognition.”

Recognition matters! It makes people feel good. They remember it. It motivates.

Who do you feel deserves recognition?

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Published by Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

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