Silver Linings: Hearts for Hope in MQT

Through this coronavirus crisis, how we have learned to be “in this together” while we’re physically apart is one of the strangest aspects of how we’re coping from day to day. We’re using video-telecommunication more than ever, interacting even more than usual on social media and shouting from our windows in solidarity with the rest of the neighborhood.

“Lift our spirit and others up”

In Marquette, Mich. (MQT) at our maintenance facility, Inventory Expeditor Clerk Billie Ladwig decided to use her office window to share some cheer by pasting paper hearts for passers-by to see. Billie was inspired by others in an Upper Peninsula Facebook Group who have been pasting hearts to their doors, windows and garages at their homes and businesses as a sort of scavenger hunt for people driving around the area.

MQT Base Coordinator Sharon Johnson, who has only been with Envoy for seven months, was overjoyed that her community members and coworkers were doing what they could to keep spirits high during these incredibly difficult times.

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“A lot of people are quarantining in their homes with their children right now and it is a fun activity to brighten their day,” Sharon said. “It’s important to know that there is hope for the future, and this situation is temporary. Instead of always dwelling on the bad, we should try to lift our spirits and others up.”

It’s a very human behavior to share affection and hug those we love, especially in times of need. Dealing with this crisis has been very different, but Sharon and Billie said they’re finding ways to cope.

“It is hard not seeing people you know and love, but it is important right now to try to limit contact to keep others safe,” said Sharon. “With today’s technology, we still have the option to call friends and loved ones to keep in touch while still staying safe in our homes.”

“The fact that we are working keeps our hands and minds busy,” said Billie. “There is video-calling, and I know people who are going to the doors and windows of their grandchildren just to get a glimpse.”

“Community and compassion”

It’s bizarre to think that a glimpse through a window is all we have right now, but it’s these small acts that our holding our communities (and our nerves) together. For Billie and Sharon, they’re grateful that they live in such a unique and cohesive community like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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“Our community is nothing short of amazing,” Billie said. “I lost count of all the masks our community has made for the healthcare workers. We are checking in with the elderly to make sure they have food, water and other necessities. This is heartwarming.”

“I have never lived in a place where I have observed a better sense of community and compassion,” said Sharon. “One word used a lot up here is SISU, which is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. Here at Envoy, I have witnessed the SISU of others and the willingness to help and care for others.”

Know any more “silver linings”? Send us an email at We’d love to share your stories of perseverance and hope during this COVID-19 crisis.

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