Past president presents at JC Breakfast Optimist Club

Tom Brungardt, past president of the club, speaks at the JC Breakfast Optimist Club meeting.

Tom Brungardt, past president of the JC Breakfast Optimist Club, was the guest speaker at the Dec. 15 “Celebration of Optimism” Gathering.

Brungardt’s topic was “Pandemics and The Worlds They Create – Too Many To Talk About.”

Brungardt told the Optimists about other pandemics prior to COVID-19, which began in another part of the world and spread.

“In 1353, efforts were made to improve public health with the use of quarantines, improvement in sanitation and an increase in governmental involvement in seeking ways to combat disease. There was also a rise in antisemitism,” Brungardt said. “The economic effects of disease reduced the work force and laborers were worth more to their employers, which brought about change.”

Some historians agree that the Spanish Flu spread from Fort Riley, Kansas in 1918. Government officials were warned not to deploy soldiers from here to fight in WWI, however the warning went unheeded. 675,000 people died in the United States from the Spanish Flu. The most recent count of deaths in the U.S. lists about 800,000 deaths from COVID-19.

“Now there is the question of what kind of world will COVID -19 create? There are people working from home. In April of 2020, there was an all time high of people resigning from their jobs. In August of the same year the record was broken again,” Brungardt said. “It is not that people are lazy. They may have had experiences in their jobs where the public had repeatedly been rude and employees were not going to put up with it anymore; the stimulus checks and rent moratorium made it possible for people to leave the jobs they hated and seek something better.”

Brungardt concluded with an observation that during COVID-19, some people have indicated by their statements or actions that their job does not (nor will it any longer) describe who they are. He also shared a slide in his power point presentation: “Nothing should go back to ‘normal.’ Normal wasn’t working. If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lesson. May we rise up and do better.”

The JC Breakfast Optimist Club meets in the Hampton Inn Meeting Room at 1039 S. Washington St. in Junction City. Visitors and new members are always welcome and receive a free breakfast on their first visit. Breakfast is ready after 6 a.m. The meeting begins at 6:50 a.m. and adjourns at 7:30 a.m.

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