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Kevin J. O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former New Jersey State Senator. (Photo: Kevin J. O'Toole.)

The O’Toole Chronicles: Thanksgiving

By Kevin O'Toole, November 24 2020 12:01 am

To say this year is one we have never seen or experienced before is an obvious cliché, but sadly so true.  Our leaders – political, community, religious and others – have been asked to lead during an incredible time of uncertainty — for that we are thankful. We have asked our health care professionals, law enforcement, and emergency workers to perform under incredible circumstances, including exposing themselves to extraordinary health risks — for that we are thankful.  We have asked our supply chain employees and other operations folks to come to work every day and keep commerce and goods available to us all — for that we are thankful.  We have asked, and expected, many minimum wage workers to continue to staff food production posts, work at restaurants, grocery stores and retail establishments, care for the elderly, clean and disinfect common public areas, including bathrooms – for them we are extremely thankful.  We have called upon many to work under terrible duress, and with constant nagging, to teach, drive, fly, care, operate and manage – for all of them we are thankful.

We are rounding the bend on defeating this horrible pandemic and we need to be vigilant about managing our disciplines to keep safe during this last chapter.  Despite all that we have to be thankful for, and we have much, we must also not forget the pain and suffering felt by far too many. The ills of the virus, including death and long-term effects, will be with us for a very long time.  We can’t forget the fragility of some.  We can’t forget the financial wreckage endured by so many, far too many to count.

During this Thanksgiving, I ask all of us to consider doing something different and extraordinary to help someone during this exceptional time in our lives.  You would be surprised just how much of an impression or change a simple kind gesture could bring about.  This year we at O’Toole Scrivo decided to focus our efforts on the truly needy and we targeted food banks as our outlets of hope and giving back.  We found 8 food banks in 7 different states and we donated $40,000.00 to try and make a difference. The volunteers at these centers – Jersey City, Morristown, Chicago, Houston, Raleigh (North Carolina), Southfield (Michigan), Conway (Arkansas), and Eagle (Idaho) were incredibly grateful.  We learned that they will collectively serve about 50,000 meals with that money.

During this Thanksgiving time, let’s be thankful for everything that we have.  Let’s appreciate life and all that it brings.  As we are carving up our turkey or watching a movie – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is mandatory in my family – let’s also be mindful of those less fortunate and let’s make an effort to do something that we wouldn’t normally do.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

P.S. Mayor/Senator Brian Stack is delivering 30,000 turkeys to his residents.

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