Winning The Battle Of Bedford Falls

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“Gower and Uncle Billy sold war bonds. Bert the cop was wounded in North Africa, got the Silver Star. Ernie, the taxi-driver, parachuted into France. Marty helped capture the Remagen Bridge. Harry, Harry Bailey topped them all. A Navy flier, he shot down fifteen planes. Two of them as they were about to crash into a transport full of soldiers.”

“Yes, but George…”

“George? Four-F on account of his ear, George fought the battle of Bedford Falls… Air raid warden… paper drives…scrap drives… rubber drives… Like everybody else, on V-E day he wept and prayed. On V-J day, he wept and prayed again.”

If you’re a red-blooded American you immediately recognize these lines from the move It’s a Wonderful Life.

Good ol’ George Bailey. As honest and sincere a guy as you can come by. He’d give you his last dollar if he thought you needed it.

And he literally did.

Well, almost.

Rather than go on his long-awaited honeymoon, he used that money to calm the nervous depositors just to keep “this old Building and Loan” in business.

Well, not all his money. When the clock rang to officially close the business day, George had all of two dollars left.

“A toast! A toast to Mama Dollar and to Papa Dollar…”

It’s no surprise that when the war came, George eagerly offered his services. And it’s equally no surprise that, when he was rejected from the army, George turned his enthusiasm towards Bedford Falls. Someone needed to lead the war effort at the home front. And George was the perfect man to do the job.

You see, not everyone can fight the battle on the front lines. But that doesn’t mean not everyone can be the hero.

Today we fight a war unlike any we’ve ever faced.

It’s not a war against man. It’s a war against nature.

The front lines aren’t in some distant land, but in hospitals and emergency care centers right here. Like any other solder, medical professionals are willing to place their own lives in harm’s way just to save others.

They have certainly earned the label “hero.” (Although I’m sure most of them, again like the best of soldiers, would respond by saying, “I’m just doing my job.”).

But we need more heroes. Other heroes. Heroes willing to fight and win the battle of Bedford Falls.

Life has changed. At least for the interim, but in some ways forever.

This change impacts every facet of our lives, from where we learn, to where we shop, to where we pray. We need to accept, embrace, and leverage that change to catapult us to the next level.

Local heroes are stepping up to do that right now.

Already, churches are discovering they can reach greater flocks by broadcasting their services. This isn’t new. For some time, it’s been a strategy employed by primarily protestant services in the south serving snowbirds. Now even Catholic parishes are doing this. (This is significant because, unlike protestants, Catholics have been required to physically attend Mass, although this requirement has now been waived by nearly all dioceses in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.)

Our schools have educated themselves on the logistics of delivering distance learning programs to its students. HFL, long a leader in teaching and technology, was quick to hit the ground running on this. Who knows, perhaps this will lead to a hybrid education model that might reach more students with a smaller (and less expensive) infrastructural footprint. Time will tell.

Still catching up to the new reality, are our local businesses. Some “essential” businesses (like this newspaper) have had to maintain full service even while suffering revenue losses. Other “essential” businesses (like banks and financial service providers) have had to modify how they deliver their services in order to maintain proper social distancing.

Those local business owners who learn to quickly adapt and repurpose their products and services will not only survive, they will thrive. Our community remains vibrant when its businesses thrive.

What do I mean by “adapt”? This means delivering your product or service in a manner that doesn’t require physical interaction. In other words, provide it over the web.

Do you have a service business that fixes things? Maybe the government has determined your business isn’t essential. What can you do to make sure your business stays alive? What can you do to stay connected to your customers?

Offer online advice. If you can’t fix people’s lawnmowers right now, put up a video showing how people can do simple maintenance by themselves. Then send a link to the video out to your customers.

Just because you’re not allowed to be in the service mode doesn’t mean you should shut down the sales mode. And every piece of advice you offer promotes your business. Think of this stay-at-home mandate as an opportunity to improve, bolster, and extend your sales pipeline.

What do I mean by “repurpose”? This means to take your existing product and service and put a twist on it to address a current need. For example, can you use your business resources to make or procure masks? There’s a ready demand for that right now. Can you use your expertise in advising businesses to advising home-based workers? That kind of change will find a willing audience.

It is in helping our local businesses where you can be a hero. Take some time to look for local businesses and see if you can use their services. Keeping your neighbor’s business operating will pay dividends not only for you and your neighbor, but for the community as a whole.

Be the George Bailey in our community. Be a hero. Win the battle of Bedford Falls.

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