This is an open letter to the ladies who help make masks.

This story began many months ago when we were campaigning for support. The calls initiated with the Neighbors helping Neighbors campaign, which began with my first run for congress in 2012 and again in 2018.

While unsuccessful in winning those elections, my desire to still help did not stop after those losses. We continued having the conversations.

I have been determined to find a way to get the attention of America that District 4 is being left behind. With this last push to run for office again, stopped in our tracks, we were all faced with a horrific pandemic that changed the course of lives everywhere.

That included the campaign.

Suddenly, suspending our mission to focus on winning, the 176,000 elderly over 60 initiated a new cause. Our volunteers were worried for them.

We found ourselves just being neighbors checking on neighbors, partnering with the EMA and United Way; we learned, we listened, and we engaged with communities helping communities.

Over the last six months the desire to help each other has grown far and wide. From food banks to soup kitchens, from radio show hosts to letter writers, we have found help on street corners everywhere.

There has been an incredible surge of caring neighbors that have rewritten the concept of how politics should be looked at.

The activism in our communities has been overwhelming. The assistance from neighbors outside our district has been humbling.

For those who were not part of the first chapter but have become characters in the chapters to follow, we are not just making history we are writing our own story.

This campaign left the fields a true ground zero organic seed sewing crop that took the efforts of political planters everywhere to nurture it. Last year it started with a “third time’s a charm” announcement in Tuscaloosa County and today you are part of a conversation that is taking place all the way to Washington D.C., by suburban neighbors who are in awe of your Southern hospitality. That is why I write to you today… To thank you for your contribution to this historical movement in our country.

Your desire to use your skills and make free masks for our neighbors one mask at a time has been a contributing asset to the protection of lives everywhere.

Whether it is an election that gives this seat back to its people, or lives that were saved by blocking the virus… you are the masked heroes of this story.

You did a very noble act helping this campaign, but more importantly, protecting neighbors. You may not provide a test or vaccine, but you provided a mask to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

You stood up and said, “I may not be able to do all that needs to be done, but I can do something.”

If the best compliment a person can receive is to have their work copied, then you have been copied throughout this state by many local and state campaigns.

Your work has been copied on a national level as other campaigns begin making masks for their neighborhoods. You set the standard. While other were paralyzed, you were making masks.

Your efforts, with aching fingers and sore backs, is a very unselfish act of generosity and kindness to thousands of people you do not know. While others sat back not knowing what to do, your busy hands went to work.

It is you that is the real hero of our story. For that, I wanted to personally say thank you.

Rick Neighbors


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