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How a Pandemic Brings Out the Best in America

How a Pandemic Brings Out the Best in America
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (AP)

By Thursday, 04 June 2020 01:53 PM Current | Bio | Archive

America is at war with an invisible enemy that's invaded our shores — creating both a public health and an economic crisis that we haven't seen since the Great Depression. Shelter-in-place orders have decimated local businesses and restaurants, leaving millions of Americans wondering how they'll ever make it.

So far there are over 40 million Americans unemployed. In fact, recent projections estimate that the U.S. economy will shrink by $8 trillion over the next 10 years.

But in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty that this pandemic has created, many businesses have stepped up — proving that in times of crisis, we are stronger together.

Whether paying employees extra money or donating supplies and money to local relief funds, these companies provided invaluable support during a time of need not just to their employees, but to their local communities and beyond.

And while many of these acts of kindness generated public attention, some did not. Here are some of their stories collectively.

When the NBA announced the postponement of the season, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a commitment to pay all of the hourly staff at American Airlines Arena so that no one missed a paycheck. Cuban also reimbursed employees at his companies who ate locally during the pandemic.

Aaron Singerman, CEO of the fastest growing sports nutrition company REDCON1, donated over 20,000 protein bars to hospitals and first responders in south Florida. Singerman also kept his 150 employees working during the pandemic despite layoffs across the area and offering pay raises to employees who worked in the warehouse despite REDCON1 not receiving any government or loan assistance as part of the coronavirus relief packages approved by Congress. In this case, it was people over profit.

Fanatics, a Pennsylvania-based company that makes Major League Baseball jerseys halted production to make 1 million gowns and masks to donate to area hospitals in Pennsylvaina, New Jersey and New York. Fanatics founder Michael Rubin converted his 360,000-square- foot facility into a mask- and gown-making factory during the pandemic.

And in my hometown of Chicago, The Sophy Hyde Park, a boutique hotel, closed its doors to the public and offered free hotel rooms to area medical staff to rest and relax in between long shifts. The space also provided an opportunity for essential medical workers to keep their families safe by staying at the hotel, for fear of further spreading the virus to loved ones at home.

The national motto of the United States is E Pluribus Unum, and in Latin it means, "Out of many, one." And when Americans band together, there's nothing we can't accomplish together. It's during times of crisis when we are at our best.

We saw it during Pearl Harbor.

We saw it on September 11, 2001.

And we're seeing it again today. But like every other crisis and challenge throughout history, we will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before.

And while economies across the country slowly re-open, there's no doubt that our recovery will take some time. But thanks to the many individuals and companies with a charitable heart, the long road to recovery won't be so difficult.

Mark Vargas is a trusted adviser and close confidant to some of the highest profile political and business leaders in America. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Vargas served as a civilian within the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a special Iraq task force. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal. His civilian service included 14 trips to Baghdad. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty that this pandemic has created, many businesses have stepped up — proving that in times of crisis, we are stronger together.
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2020-53-04
Thursday, 04 June 2020 01:53 PM
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