All Things O’Neill – Together we can persevere

They say time flies when you’re having fun. The same could be said for when you are doing fulfilling work that you love. This month I celebrate my one-year anniversary with the O’Neill Center and the one-year anniversary of this column. I want to thank The Marietta Times for continuing to allow us to have this space to talk about All Things O’Neill.

The last 12 months have brought many challenges and many rewards. I have been able to work alongside a wonderful group of caring folks whose mission is to enrich the lives of the community’s seniors. Together we saw a light at the end of the tunnel with Covid, only to have to take a step back and reevaluate due to some alarming numbers in the county. I can’t say it has been easy for any of us. Still, we persevere. Thank you for continuing to wear face coverings in our buildings. Maybe together we can have a small impact and avoid any more devastating shutdowns.

Coincidentally, I started my journey with the O’Neill Center during National Senior Centers Month, which is observed every September by the National Council on Aging and senior centers everywhere. This year especially, senior centers have shown strength, resilience and gratitude in the face of obstacles. We as a country have lived through some hard times. Everyone who lived through 9/11, the 20th anniversary of which was just honored, remembers where they were that horrible day. But how will we remember 2020 and 2021? Maybe it’s wishful thinking, maybe naïve positivity, but I will choose to remember this as a time when neighbor helped neighbor, when community organizations dug a little deeper, when those with passion and spirit for giving and helping were called to duty and didn’t waver, no matter how scared or tired.

And, believe me, we are tired and scared. Everyone from healthcare providers to grocery store clerks is feeling the effects of Covid on the country and our economy. Supply chain problems and staffing issues are trickling down. We are all feeling a little beaten and rundown. Still, we persevere.

Through long hours, grueling and sometimes emotionally exhausting situations, firefighters and EMTs have stepped up, doctors have stepped up, educators have stepped up, parents have stepped up. Those who are crucial have stepped up in a big way and are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Home health care aides, fast food workers, those whose job it is to take care of our infrastructure – just about everyone you see is dealing with some kind of struggle or stress. Be kind to these people. And if you are one of these people, remember to breathe.

What else can we do? We are all in this together. Together we can move forward. Together we can find resolution. Maybe together we can heal. Divided we do nothing. Together we can persevere.

Erin O’Neill is Development Coordinator for The O’Neill Center, located at 333 Fourth St. in Marietta. She can be reached at or 740-373-3914.