It’s the kind of news that knocks you back a step.
Most of us read news of an Ebola outbreak in Africa and pause to hope the authorities (whoever they are) get it under control for the sake of the locals and so it doesn’t spread. We offer prayers for the affected communities, and maybe we look for somewhere to donate toward their aid. And we probably feel a bit of gratitude that we live where we do — a place with advanced medical technology, where the authorities (whoever they are) can be expected to get a better grip on an outbreak, and where the political system is sufficiently developed to allow us to provide each other — through commerce and charity — the basic necessities to deal with both daily life and crises.
The news that knocked me back, though, was that somebody I know from Tiverton had hopped a plane to fly from here — where the state’s major daily newspaper publishes cartoons mocking people who panic about Ebola — to there — a nation that recently produced the headline “Liberia closes its borders to stop Ebola.”
On one level, it’s actually not that surprising. Tim Flanigan is the kind of guy who starts (and largely funds) an organization to help children with drug-addicted or incarcerated parents overcome their disadvantages with the advantage of attending private schools. He’s the kind of guy who scales back his role as a high-profile specialist in infectious diseases in the state to become a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, splitting his time between two local parishes and the state prison.
But on another level, who does something like this?
If you’re like me, that might not be a question that you’re quite able to answer. But what we can do is look to the man who’s taken the courageous action and see what it is he requests from us. In this case, Tim has a short and simple list, summarized by his own question: “Isn’t it amazing that painting supplies can save lives?”
- Nitrile or Latex gloves
- Shoe covers
- Tyvek jump suits
- Masks (N95 particulate respirators)
- Rubber cleaning gloves
Those items can be delivered to either location of the joint parish of Saint Christopher and Saint Theresa in Tiverton. Alternately, the local 501(c)(3) charity Tiverton Cares (of which I am a board member) is collecting donations to pass along, as well. Send donations of supplies or checks (to “Tiverton Cares”; memo “Ebola”) to P.O. Box 525, Tiverton, Rhode Island 02878 or click the “donate” button below.