Tennessee Pharmacists Association

The Value of PharmacyMarch 6, 2020

Finding Hope and Heroes in Tragedy 

Fred Rogers (known as “Mr. Rogers” to many of us) is credited with the following quote in response to tragedy: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”  There is so much truth and power in this simple message, especially this week.

On Tuesday, Middle Tennessee experienced an unbelievable tragedy. In the dark of night, while many of us were asleep, a tornado ripped through downtown Nashville and Middle Tennessee, tearing up homes and businesses, causing heartbreaking loss of lives, and leaving a trail of damage and injury that may never be fully repaired. A massive tragedy of this magnitude realigns our focus on what really matters most in life.

Our team here at TPA is grateful to the many members who have reached out to check on us and make sure we were okay. Your concern is greatly appreciated, and your messages of support mean more than you know. Thankfully, we are all safe and out of harm’s way, but many of our friends and neighbors were not as fortunate.

Our team has spent the past few days reaching out to members who were in the path of the storms. Through our conversations, we have heard stories that have inspired us and given us faith and hope in the good of humanity. Working with little to no sleep, many of our pharmacists and pharmacy professionals in hospitals and emergency departments continue to provide care to family members, friends, and neighbors who were hurt and injured by the tornadoes. Our community pharmacists are working diligently to ensure that patients have uninterrupted access to life-sustaining medication therapies. Our schools and colleges of pharmacy across the state of Tennessee have come together to support our student pharmacists and faculty who were displaced by the storms. These stories of service give us a heightened sense of appreciation for the importance and value of the pharmacy profession.

I am proud to be a Tennessean and a pharmacist and am equally proud of our Volunteer State. Not only is Tennessee responding with strength and solidarity, but our state is backing up our words with actions. Since Tuesday, thousands of volunteers have jumped in to help where they can, overloading volunteer websites and showing up to help in the recovery effort. If you are looking to help, here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Contribute Funds: The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has activated the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to support the affected communities and nonprofits that are helping victims address their ongoing needs.
  • Donate Supplies: All supplies should be sent to the Community Resource Center. CRC has set up an Amazon Wishlist for needed supplies. Items needed right now include personal hygiene items, baby items including formula, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, and bottles, battery operated lanterns, tarps, rolls of plastic sheeting, work gloves, vinyl gloves, latex gloves, Windex, Lysol products, batteries and flashlights, and towels of all sizes. Items NOT needed include used clothing, used toys, or used books.
  • Lend a Hand: For a more complete list of organizations and volunteer opportunities, visit the Office of the First Lady on the TN.gov website.

Thankfully, many of the folks we have spoken with were either not affected by the storms or have been surrounded by a supportive community to aid in recovery from the storms. While we have reached quite a few of you, we haven’t been able to reach everyone. If you have been directly affected and need anything, please reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to help! If you have a personal pharmacy hero story, or would like to share a pharmacy story about your own personal pharmacy hero, we’d love to share it. Give us a call, email us, or tag us on social media (@tnpharmacists).

Today, the sun is shining and it’s a new day. Thank you for being pharmacy heroes to our TPA team, as well as to your patients, your communities, and everyone here in the great state of Tennessee.

Micah Cost, PharmD, MS
Executive Director
Tennessee Pharmacists Association