Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

— The Chorus to “Angels Among Us,” Recorded by Alabama

I have a troubling admission to make.

I woke up in the middle of the night with the words of this song ringing in my ears and flooring my head.

Despite the fact that I was wrapped and all snug in my bed, it was as if I was sitting in the front row of the Ryman Auditorium and listening to the Southern Country band Alabama. All by myself.

Despite the fact that there was not a creature stirring — not even one of the 3 dogs or the 3 cats — my head was suddenly spinning like the vinyl on my antique record player can still do. I was overwhelmed by the song playing in surround-sound in my head.

Despite the fact that the clock on my cell phone read 3:58 a.m., and the lovely Leigh Ann was sound asleep on the other side of the King-Sized bed, it was as if a heavenly choir was singing at their top of their lungs. Their healthy lungs. Their lungs full of life. Their lungs not touched by any crippling virus.

I sat straight up, and looked around for a second or two. Then, I wandered off to grab my pen and note pad.

I started to scribble the names of my “Angels.”

(My mom and sister at Keeneland)

The first name I wrote on my list was Betty McLean. My 89-year-old mom, who still lives in our family home in little Midway, KY. She lives there alone now, since we lost my dad about 3 years ago. But she lives there to the fullest. And, she lives to help others.

She gets up every, single, solitary morning wondering whom she can help next. Seriously. Every day, the routine is the same. She gets up. She eats breakfast. And, then she begins her “work.”

She cooks for others. Whomever she thinks needs help. And, she delivers.

She calls her friends at the Midway Nursing Home, just to check on them.

She jumps in her car and drives from her home in Midway to Louisville — an 80-mile trip one way — to visit with her 90-year-old sister. Every week, my mom makes the trip. Every week, she sits and talks to Aunt Joyce, who is now in a nursing home battling the darkness of Alzheimers. She makes sure her sister has clean clothes to wear, and good food to eat. Despite the fact that her sister has long ago forgotten her name or who she is the mist of this awful disease. My mom still goes.

She goes to the church and makes sure the heat is on, and the kitchen is clean. If it isn’t? Her heart warms it. And, she puts on her gloves and cleans it.

She calls her children to check on them. She calls her grandchildren to check on them. And, she would love to FaceTime with her great grandchildren, if she could only figure out the doggone phone.

The only thing killing my mom these days is the thing that may save her — social distancing. After all, it is a foreign concept to her.

My mom is truly an Angel Among Us.

(My lovely Leigh Ann)

The second name on my list was Leigh Ann. My lovely wife. Despite being the bread-winner in our family these days; a full-time mother of an amazing 16-year-old who is sometimes all boy and sometimes a teenager trying to figure out how to become a man; and the managing partner of one of the biggest and best lobbying firms in all of Kentucky, Leigh has inherited the unenviable job of loving me.

She gets up every, single, solitary morning wondering how to juggle more balls than Anthony Gatto — who is critically acclaimed as being the “world’s best juggler.” Seriously. Every day, the routine is the same. She gets up. Heads off. Resolves crisis after crisis. Mediates dispute after dispute. Consoles and cajoles. Fixes. Mends. And, does it all with a smile on her face.

I have often said that if you can’t get along with Leigh Ann Thacker then you probably should check yourself into a ward or asylum. She is the most giving and forgiving person I have ever known. Ever. In any walk of life, she will go the extra mile. Every time.

And, if that is not enough, over the past week she has had to look after her truly worthless husband. Her husband who has overcome blood clots in both lungs on two previous occasions. Her husband that meets every “at risk” category in this battle against coronavirus. And, her husband who got an infection about 5 days ago. Every 30 minutes, Leigh Ann brings the thermometer and checks my temp. Every 12 hours, she makes sure I have taken my meds. Every meal, she makes.

To be clear, I do not have coronavirus. Leigh Ann has kept me safe. And, to this point, sound. But if I did? She would be right with me. All the way.

My wife is truly an Angel Among Us.

(Brad and grand sons Ford and Jack; Alex and husband Evan; and Evan with grandson Mac and Jack)

I wrote the names of my loving children and grandchildren; my sister and her family. Blood is thick.

I wrote the names of some of my greatest friends, like Kelly Sears. Always there. Always. There. And, so many others. So many.

I wrote the names of some of my workmates, who have become far more than just workmates. People like Ed DeRosa, Mike Ziegler, John Harris, Keith Walls, and others just like them. Each day they text or call. Just to check in.

I wrote the name of my Doctor, Amee Patel. What an amazing young lady, with such professional skill and talent that is only matched with her care and compassion. Each day, she checks on me. A call. A text. The offer to visit me at home. If you need a good primary care professional, please give her a call. She is more than a physician for the body. She is a caregiver for the soul.

They are all Angels Among Us.

But in this crisis of both conscious and coronavirus, we have others that need OUR help, too. We have others that desperately need OUR assistance. Right now.

There is Churchill Downs’ Chaplain, Father Joseph Del Rosario, who is trying his best to assist so many families that still live near the racetrack and who are waiting for the virus to subside so that many of them can return to work on the backstretch of the world’s most legendary racetrack.

For now and the foreseeable future, the racetrack remains closed. Jobs remain gone. Money remains missing.

But the need for assistance is rising. If you can help, in any way, go to www.kychaplaincy.org/donation and consider a gift, or call at 502-634-6543 and offer whatever you can.

He is an Angel Among Us that needs our help.

There is Corey Nelson and his most talented, artistic wife Rickelle Nelson — who help run the Grace Kids Church need the Churchill Downs backside. They have literally set up a table outside for people to walk up and get access to desperately need food items.

According to our great friend and photographer — Holly M. Smith — who assists Grace Kids in their efforts, the church desperately needs donations of the following:

— Juive boxes

— Individual boxes of cereal

— Pop tarts

— Individual oatmeal packets

— Halo Oranges

— Apples

To learn more on how WE can help go to www.mealtrain.com. There is a wait to donate to assist the Nelsons, and, more importantly, the kids and families in the most desperate need and vulnerability.

They are Angels Among Us that desperately need our help.

The truth is?

We all can become an Angel Among Us. 

All we have to do is enlist. Volunteer. Sign up. Give.

Undoubtedly, we all find ourselves and our country at a time of great crisis and grave circumstances. And, as much was we would love our government and our doctors to fix it — like right now; today — we will most likely have to live through it.

On the other side, we will emerge stronger. If we want to be stronger.

On the other side, we can be better. If we want to be better.

But to get to the other side, we will sometimes need to be carried. Leigh Ann is getting tired of carrying. And, sometimes we will have to carry.

Why don’t we try to be Angels Among Us, too?

What do we have to lose? We are sitting in our houses wondering what to do next to keep from going crazy, right? Here’s something we can do that is productive and can help others, as well as ourselves.

Our people could have a lot to gain.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.