Are You That Person?

 Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Frank Komola retired in 2012 following a 23 year career at UPS. He belongs to the retirees chapter of Local 25, International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Boston. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Haverhill.

Sometimes, actually, more often than not, some of us feel overwhelmed by the many challenges facing this great country of ours. Earning a living, raising a family, paying down college loans and caring for our parents as they age, can be enough of a challenge for almost all of us.

While all of that weighs on our minds, major issues face all of us in the New Year. The ever-present specter of international conflict is taking place all over the world, with the deaths that mount and the refugee crisis that the conflicts create. High unemployment, racial and religious bigotry and unrealistic fears of terrorists confront migrants when they emigrate away places like the Middle East or Central America to countries like ours. In the process, an environment of conflict greets them, something they are trying to get away from by entering countries like ours.

The world is warming up but some politicians in places of power aren’t warming up to the idea it even exists, let alone trying to make policy that attempts to deal with the consequences. Unlike our president-elect and several important cabinet nominees, many real estate developers have acknowledged the reality of global warming as they incorporate plans to deal with rising ocean waters in harbor side developments around the country.

A massive amount of student debt is weighing down consumers that otherwise would be spending their money on the things that drive a healthy economy. As a large segment of the population moves into their 60s and 70s, members of that generation worry about the cost of drugs and health care, with no guarantee that their pensions, insurance, social security or Medicare will be adequate to keep them from going into debt, let alone offering them the opportunity to retire at all.

So who’s going to step into the ring to fight for solutions to these and other problems our country faces? Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, Marsha Ternus and Kevin Prindiville took one step forward from the line of this country’s citizens to tackle a problem facing our communities. And they continue to inspire us to change our world for the better. Like the hero that runs towards the fire, dives into the frigid water, or put themselves between the gun and a potential victim, another self-less individual is among us. A person that is capable of running towards the fires that face our community, our state or perhaps our whole country.

Are you that person?