For those who don't know, I'm from Western New York, specifically a small town called Lewiston in Niagara County. When you're from that area, there are a few things that stick with you no matter where you go, and one of them is being a fan of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. We all watched in shock on national television as Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed during a routine tackle and went into cardiac arrest. At that moment, the game became secondary, and we were reminded of how fragile life is. It was humbling to see professional athletes weep and hug at the gravity of the situation. What was even more moving, though, was seeing the circle of protection that these men formed around the paramedics and medical personnel working on Hamlin to shield them from the cameras.
Regardless of your faith, it was truly amazing to see sports broadcasters, fans, players, coaches, and the media rallying around this player with prayers and openly asking others to pray for him. This young man's tragedy touched and united so many people. To date, the foundation set up in his name, which supports young people in the town where he grew up by providing them with toys, has raised over $9 million. Again, this shows the power of people coming together to support each other. By the time you read this article, Mr. Hamlin’s health has improved and things are looking brighter. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to him, his family, and all members of the Bills Nation.
This incident got me thinking about human nature and the kindness that comes out in people when we are united. Can you imagine if we came together in Martin County and rallied around the needs in our community? There are already a number of non-profits in our community that you can support, and millions of dollars are invested annually in Martin County to improve the quality of life for those who need services. Imagine what could be achieved if we stopped seeing it as "us against them" and instead looked at our community as a united whole. We would all benefit.
My hope for the world is that everyone will join forces to work on issues, but the reality is that this doesn't happen very often. I don't understand why, but it's frustrating when so much good could come from working together. But then I see what happens when one tragic incident occurs while we're watching our favorite sports team, and we all come together. It should not take a tragedy for us to unite, support each other, and work toward a better future. As we begin the year 2023, I'm asking each of us to consider coming together, not just in the wake of a tragedy, but simply as humans who want a better future for everyone in our community. My motto is and will always be #LiveUnited.