It was a pleasure watching the 2020 Olympics recently. In addition to televising the action, there were many features that told you more about the athletes and their backgrounds. Some had overcome tremendous adversity during their journeys to become Olympic athletes. Their resilience to prevail over life's challenges is admirable.

These inspiring stories made me recall others I have known who were remarkably resilient. For instance, my mother, Irene, was a six-time cancer survivor before she passed away as a result of her seventh battle with the disease. Throughout her ordeals and suffering during these many recurrences, she remained kind and caring, and seldom complained. Meek by nature, she was a quiet pillar of strength.

It is hard to imagine what it is like to be an Olympic athlete or to have cancer seven times. And frankly, for those of us who have not been employed by a senior care provider during the pandemic, it is hard to imagine what it's been like to work or live in a nursing home, personal care home, or retirement community throughout the past 18 months.

Only those who have served at or lived in a long-term care setting during the pandemic can fully appreciate the challenges and hardships staff and residents alike have endured. But it is easy for any of us to find the many remarkable, quiet pillars of strength working and living in our member communities. 

We acknowledge the staff members who, although beyond exhausted, have been working extra shifts to cover holes in staffing schedules and pitching in to help coworkers. We recognize the residents who help lift the spirits of others through their kind words and encouragement. We see the leaders who continue to inspire those around them, while suppressing their own anxiety and fear.

Those of us on the outside will never fully know or comprehend the efforts made by those quiet pillars of strength. We can only offer our deepest respect, gratitude, and prayers to everyone in our member communities for your remarkable resilience.