Around the world, communities like ours continue to face unprecedented challenges. Here at home, the surge has flattened, leaving many of us in a state of confusion. How could this happen? Is it real? Why are we being forced to disconnect from each other? How long will this last? We continue to search for answers and fight to inspire our neighbors to care for themselves, so that they can care for others.

As we look ahead, we are grateful for those who have fought so hard to protect us. COVID-19 brought new soldiers to the army of first responders. The infiltration of the virus closed in quickly, shutting down businesses, schools and access to the very things that so many of us took for granted. Healthcare workers faced a battle of the unknown and each day with the integrity and courage of a warrior, they served this community on the front lines. Many risk their own health and the well-being of their loved ones.

I’ve worked in health care for nearly 10 years now and I’ve told many stories in my 25-year career as a television newscaster. Telling a story has never been a problem for me. It seems as if I’ve been doing it for most of my life. You would think that when people ask, “How’s it going at the hospital?", it would an easy question to answer. But, nothing has been easy over the past eight months. The definition of health care has taken on a whole new meaning.

There are countless stories at Dignity Health to tell. Images that will forever be entrenched in my heart and mind. At times, it looked like a battlefield inside our hospitals. Words can’t describe the humanity of individuals who came together with one goal in fighting the unknown — the hospital presidents and leaders who practically lived at the hospital, implemented the new operational changes needed to ensure everyone’s safety. The nurses and physicians who became family to those in end of life and the countless number of janitors, food service workers, transporters, engineers, phone operators and supply workers who all joined the fight with no reservation.

But, it was what we saw outside our hospital walls that gave us the resiliency, determination and spirit to keep going. The gifts, signs, protective equipment, food deliveries and flashing light of prayers from a loving community brought a spirit of collaboration that was beyond what we could have imagined. For this we are forever grateful.

During these extraordinarily difficult times in our world, I am humbled and reminded of all that is good.

To our teams at Mercy and Memorial Hospitals, we have experienced a special bonding of people and teams across our ministry. Our collective spirit of service remains strong and we know we will get through these hard times, together.

In the end, when the world stopped … you kept going.

When hope wavered … your courage inspired.

When normal returns … you’ll always be our heroes.

Robin Mangarin Scott is vice president of marketing and communications for Dignity Health's Central California Division.