2020 being a “uniquely challenging year” is the passive descriptor that covers a wide array of events, but paramount of those crises is COVID-19. A major part of my job here at UF Health Jacksonville is capturing photography, and much like other jobs and careers, COVID-19 affected it greatly. Looking back on 2020 now, a large part of me just feels extremely grateful that my employment remained relatively unaffected throughout these long months.
Some of my first opportunities to return to shooting photos was covering the community COVID-19 testing sites. I recall feeling proud that I worked for an organization that was so focused on serving those who routinely get overlooked. The photos captured that day were encouraging but at the same time another reminder that COVID-19 was still extremely present.
We will fast forward now to January of 2021, with the arrival of the first vaccines. And while the photo above is from a group of individuals that came at the end of the month, the end was now in sight.
In this photo are a few of the pastors and local clergy from churches around the community that UF Health Jacksonville is a part of, and it is one of my favorite images captured this past year. The image speaks on so many levels that matter to me. It shows the breakdown of division between community organizations. The photo shows eight individuals who chose to be vaccinated as leading examples to others who look up to them. The photo shows the hopeful end to one of the most challenging things our country has faced in this generation. The photo shows hope. These eight people are now among millions that have been vaccinated for COVID-19, but they represent much more than a stat or percentage.
When an organization can serve the community in such a way that the community itself is the champion, that’s an organization worth being a part of.