By Autumn Moon

Almost every day at 6:30 a.m., my dad wakes up to get ready for work and puts on one of two outfits: a suit and tie or medical scrubs. Then, he quickly drinks a cup of coffee and grabs an authorized medical mask, gloves and disinfectant for his car. 

My dad either spends the work day in his office or in a hospital. Yet, the days he works at the former seem like a faded memory now. As an OB-GYN, he’s needed elsewhere. 

In the midst of a pandemic, any kind of medical training puts you on the front lines if you are willing to help, and my dad is. For this, I’m proud of him every single day. Although I was proud of him long before the coronavirus, I am especially proud now. He is the hardest working, most courageous and brave person I’ve ever met, and he continues to be.

As the pandemic was becoming more dangerous, I heard my parents talking in the kitchen and my mom said she was worried about him. As the disease ravaged New York, my dad received an open invitation to assist patients in the case of a shortage of medical professionals. We live in the state, and my mom didn’t want him to put his life at risk.

After listening to her concerns, he calmly responded with words I will never forget: “Cari, I will never be afraid of dying. That’s why I chose this job. Because even if someone’s dying in front of me, I will not be afraid to help. If it was any of you and I wasn’t around, I would want someone to help — think about that. So if they ask me, I’m going.” 

My mom understood his point. He is incredibly altruistic, which is what we love most about him. He would never turn down helping someone in need and our family could never ask him to do otherwise.

As the pandemic rages on, my dad continues to deliver babies, return to the hospital and help patients. It scares me because I love him, but it’s become a normal part of my life. 

I’m used to him coming home and executing a serious disinfectant routine. I’m used to the early mornings and the nights he stays over at the hospital. I’m used to the unease and the concern, but everyday, I’m so thankful for him. 

The second he’s home, my dad leaves work at the door. He swings a big pot onto the stove. He then chops some tomatoes, seasoning them lightly. With a spoon, he tests his mixture, furrows his brow and then throws in a little more seasoning. After working a full shift all night at the hospital, he’s making homemade tomato sauce. Because what else would he be doing? 

He loves dinner, especially Italian food. He always brings my mom coffee. He makes us laugh. He would never boast or brag about what he does, so I feel obligated to do so. 

My dad is my hero, and I am not alone in that. So many healthcare workers in the world are heroes. Just like my dad, they have families, busy lives and concern for the future. They are fueled by the hope that they will help just one more person. These people deserve our respect, appreciation and attention. 

Every time we disregard public health regulations (social distancing, etc.), we put another one of those peoples’ lives at risk. They are working to make things better, while some of us are making the problem worse.