By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham lawyer Alexander Shunnarah appreciates the many cashiers and store clerks he sees stocking shelves when he heads to the grocery store to pick up food and supplies for his family in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Those individuals are “unsung heroes,” he said.
“I think the truck drivers, the clerks at every gas station and every grocery store, the people stocking up everything, … there are so many people I consider [heroes]. How about the mail carrier delivering my mail every day?”
This month, Shunnarah launched the Unsung Heroes campaign, which gives gift cards to essential workers, including fire fighters, police officers, waste collectors, delivery drivers, bank tellers, and convenience store and gas station employees.
Because of them, the world “has continued to operate. If you really think about it, … if it were not for them, none of us would have survived,” said the owner of Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys law firm.
He wants those on the front line of the pandemic to not only be recognized but also have the proper gear and protection.
“I love the medical profession. My brother-in-law is a physician; he’s on the front line, going in every day … up in Huntsville, [Alabama]. … I think it’s fair to say medical health care professionals have received a lot attention and a lot of love, and they are very deserving,” Shunnarah said, adding that he believes the economy has to re-open or just get started at some point.
“Like anything in life, you [have to] take the first step, and I know we’re in the process of doing that,” he said. “This world cannot survive without an economy.”
Part of life is being able to survive economically, “and people have to get back to work and feed their families. … The world was not created to be shut down. The virus has put us in a very precarious position. This thing has adversely affected every single human being on earth,” he said.
Whenever Shunnarah leaves his house to shop, he dons his protective N95 respirator face mask, which “reduces the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles,
from small particle aerosols to large droplets,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
“I don’t want my wife and three daughters going to the grocery store, so I put on my mask and go to the grocery store myself,” he said. “Think about all of the people flocking to stores and [the workers] standing there eight or 10 hours a day taking money. They are less than six feet away [from customers], and so many of them can be exposed to this virus. I see it every day—and that’s how I came up with the Unsung Heroes [campaign].”
In the midst of the global pandemic he still sees some positives: “If ever there was a time when we all need one another and if ever there was a time when we need to show kindness, mercy, compassion, love, and grace—this is the time,” he said.