These last couple months have presented a startling paradigm shift for all us throughout the nation and here in High Point.

It’s been a sobering realization that a microscopic virus can so dramatically upend our lives. Our world has indeed tilted and while this has had tremendous tragic impact it has also brought about new insights.

An obscure quote from the maelstrom of our country’s revolution in 1776 may say it best, “Do you not think there is an angel riding this whirlwind and directing this storm?”

Elisa is our new breed of hero and I want to start seeing folks like her on my Wheaties Box, on Billboards throughout our country and watch their stories on TV.

For many of us this “whirlwind” has reaffirmed and, in some cases, reoriented our priorities by underscoring the importance of our faith, family, friends, community and yes, our country. It has also altered our culture’s awareness of what we value most. We are discovering our perceptions of what constitutes a real-life hero have changed and I hope this change is forever.

Our true heroes are not the guys throwing footballs, dunking basketballs or hitting home runs. They are instead those who are serving faithfully and courageously often putting themselves at great risk to serve their fellow man.

This past week I had the privilege of working with my friends at WGHP who approached me to inquire who I considered to be one of the genuine COVID-19 heroes in High Point they could recognize and honor through their partnership with NASCAR. My immediate response was this hero had to be a nurse, specifically an emergency room nurse. I made some calls and eventually connected with Whitney Bradshaw who serves as a nurse supervisor in the emergency room at High Point Medical Center and asked her to help me identify the emergency nurse who most exemplified this new definition of heroism.

The next day Whitney put this question to her supervisory team and one name quickly surged to the top, Elisa Bowman, a nurse who has worked in our local emergency room for the past 5 years. She was universally described as “the one who is always willing to take on a little bit more to help her patients and her team.” When COVID-19 hit she stepped up without hesitation and immediately began serving patients with compassion and professionalism. Keep in mind, in the beginning all we knew was people were dying, including many health providers and yet Elisa and her teammates carried on with grace, courage and faith. This weekend Elisa will be the honorary Grand Marshal at the Darlington Raceway NASCAR event, she will be the official starter of the race and her name will be seen on the Richard Childress #3 car driven by Austin Dillion and I couldn’t be more excited for her!

Elisa is our new breed of hero and I want to start seeing folks like her on my Wheaties Box, on Billboards throughout our country and watch their stories on TV. While we’re at it, I would also like to add teachers who all of us, especially those who are homeschooling, certainly appreciate more, and the amazing men and women serving on our local police force and fire department and those nonprofit heroes who have been working at great risk in the trenches feeding and caring for our most vulnerable populations.

I hope we are going to walk away from this pandemic with a clearer vision of what really matters in this world, and folks, it’s about caring for one another.

It struck me the other day that in my family alone I have daughter, Taylor, who is a physician’s assistant, a daughter-in-law, Leah, who is a surgical nurse and a son-in-law, Brandon, who is a policeman and each of them is serving on the front lines for me, for you, for all of us and they, like their comrades, need to be appreciated and honored.

So, today, I challenge each of you, as you go about practicing your safe social distancing, to take a moment to seek out one of these heroes and say thank you for standing in the gap for all of us. The words found in John 15:13 ring truer today than ever to describe our new heroes, “No greater love hath no man than this. That a man lay down his life for his friends.”

For High Point… For Good… Forever.