On this historic couple of days in our country – one where life as we know it has in many ways been put on pause – I think of my stepfather.
At age 77, he is in poor health, but has stayed with us for many (still productive) years. As a lifelong diabetic, he has heart and kidney issues and is on in-home dialysis. He can’t see much anymore, and gets around in a wheelchair as an amputee. He lives a hard life, but he is still kicking it, and finds ways to enjoy life as his body breaks down. One passion: Cooking. He is a terrific baker, and makes tasty breads and soups almost daily so Grandma Barbara can run them over to our house for dinner.
We do this for him. We do this so he doesn’t get sick, and others like him — our most vulnerable, those who may die from COVID-19.
I try to remember him when we make emergency declarations, when schools close, when we decide to close the Grobschmidt Senior Center, when we suspend programming at the South Milwaukee Public Library, when we have our police and firefighters take extra precautions when going out on calls, when we have utility workers and other employees reduce the amount of their in-home visits, even when we take steps to clean our buildings more often.
This is not over yet. It’s likely many more people will get sick, and worse days are ahead. But I ask those reading this to rest assured we are doing all we can as a city to address the pandemic, that we have the right team in place working as hard as it can to get us through this. Will we do everything perfectly? No. But we will always act in the best interest of the city, making decisions smartly and decisively and with the promotion of public health at the foundation of our actions.
The world has changed in the last 48 hours, and as we confront that, I am prouder than ever to be the mayor of this city, leader of this team of employees, and husband to Sarah, father to my children, son of Pharis Brooks and Barbara Kendall, basketball coach of the sixth grade Rockets, member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and owner of Brooks Communications.
And I’m proud to be the stepson of Grandpa Dave. We do this for you. Stay healthy.