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We have more reasons than ever to believe in the goodness of people

Somewhere in our consciousness, we realize there are individual lessons for all of us, stemming from life amid the coronavirus. We are living very conscious days, perhaps examining our lives and values as never before.

And while the overarching facts are gloomy — it's going to get worse before it gets better — there's an unintended tentacle evolving a little more every day: character rising from crisis.

It's the great irony. Imagine: In spite of our leaders feigning leadership and instead spewing moral outrage and damnation and at one another, more reasons than ever are emerging to believe in the goodness of people.

Indeed, the concept of "together" has never been more forceful, even as social distancing keeps us apart. This has been a week for the books around here already.

We begin with Carmen Mebus, a woman from East Lyme, who has two daughters working in New York City hospitals. She reached out Monday morning appealing for N95 masks — lifelines for people on the front lines — hoping to keep health care workers (namely her two daughters) alive as the virus becomes more prevalent.

In 48 hours, Mebus said people have reached out with more than 1,000 masks.

Some have dropped them at her doorstep, crying and praying at the same time, Mebus said. Mebus met one woman in a McDonald's parking lot. Another woman drove two masks over from Rhode Island. An East Lyme native who works in Oregon saw the column and used her corporate connections to ship boxes of masks straight to New York. An outpouring like we've never seen. Ever.

I spoke to Carmen on Wednesday morning. From a dire tone in her voice Monday to considerably more chipper. Her message: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

"People are the best," she said.

They sure are. And there's more. The Cactus Jack Foundation, a Waterford-based organization forever helping people in need, has teamed with Filomena's to give complimentary Easter ham dinners to the first 250 residents from East Lyme, Waterford and New London who work for Lawrence + Memorial or Backus Hospital. There will be curbside pickup at Filomena's Sunday from 11-7. Signups go through

"It's in appreciation for people who have no choice but to work. We want to give them something to look forward to," said Mike Buscetto, a Cactus Jack board member and proprietor of Filomena's. "Everybody needs something to look forward to. Mental wellness to me and everybody at Cactus Jack is paramount. We just want people to know we're all going to get through this."

Buscetto has also teamed with "Sisters With Suits," a group of female lawyers in the region to help with funding for Waterford Youth and Family Services and Safe Futures, among others. Sisters With Suits: Lindsay Savona, Sarah Saunders, Kristi Hanney, Lori Bartinik, Krislyn Launer, Mary Puhlick, Brette Fitton, Paige Quilliam. (And how do you not love "Sisters With Suits?")

Buscetto said the number of friends with the means to help are too numerous to mention. But he's never seen an outpouring like this.

"My business is down 80 percent," Buscetto said. "It's probably that way for a lot of people. Maybe worse. But no matter how down we are, we're seeing so many people whose hearts are 100 percent involved in the community."

Character arising from crisis.

More reasons to believe in the inherent goodness of people.

An unintended consequence of a virus that has changed life as we know it.

I urge everyone to keep reaching out. It's not easy sometimes. But it sure beats bellowing from the cheap seats. Remember the words of Teddy Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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