Hometown: Highland Heights
Synagogue: Temple Am Shalom
Work: Cleveland Division of Police, Motorcycle Unit
How have you served the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?
When the pandemic first started, my unit was at Cleveland Clinic assisting with traffic control for the first COVID-19 testing in the Greater Cleveland area. As Cleveland Clinic was able to manage its own traffic, we transitioned to helping the Greater Cleveland Food Bank with traffic control at the Muni Lot for food distribution. The day following, we would deliver boxes of food to community members that were either homebound or did not have transportation. In late spring/early summer (2020) when there would be protests in various parts of the city, we would escort citizens and block streets to allow for the safe demonstration of the First Amendment. Once the vaccine began to roll out, we would escort the Cleveland Department of Health to numerous vaccine sites throughout the city, ensuring its safe arrival. Once the state decided Cleveland State University would be the mass inoculation for the Northeast part of Ohio we transitioned to traffic control, working an average of 16 hours a day, six or seven days a week around the Wolstein Center.
What has been the most challenging part?
The most challenging part was the unknown, initially. There were a lot of what-ifs and information was rapidly changing when it came to the virus. Should we be wearing masks? Who has COVID? How could you protect yourself? If I get COVID, what is it going to be like? Fortunately the information became more clear on what we should be doing, along with the division giving more guidance and supplies to protect ourselves and our families while working.
What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part was being able to assist those who were lost and scared. When you are not familiar with a place or a procedure, you tend to panic a bit. When someone sees a police officer they typically believe the officer is familiar with the city and procedures, especially if working around an event. The look of fear showed on people initially at Cleveland Clinic because they did not know where to go or if they were going to get tested, as well as the look of worry on people hoping to get food from the food bank. If a citizen would stop and ask for directions, I would do my best to make sure they understood, while also calming them down.
How can Clevelanders continue to support frontline workers?
Clevelanders have been pretty amazing throughout the entire pandemic. Just a simple hello and small conversation will do.
What are you most looking forward to doing this summer in Northeast Ohio now that you are vaccinated and everything is opening up?
I look forward to going to Cedar Point. I’m pretty excited to be able to ride my motorcycle to different places and be able to go inside to eat or explore with less restrictions compared to 2020.
What local restaurant are you most excited to visit?
I look forward to trying different barbecue places throughout the area to enjoy some slow smoked beef brisket. Smokin Q’s in Mayfield Village is excellent.
What Cleveland activities are you looking forward to this summer?
Going to an Indians game.
Meet more of Cleveland’s frontline workers at jstylemagazine.com/frontlineworkers.