Many local residents have worked long hours since COVID-19 reached our communities, providing vital services, implementing safety measures and risking their health for the health of all.

Monday is Labor Day. The holiday belongs to every citizen, but the day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. This year it’s especially appropriate to consider those workers deemed essential during the pandemic and to reflect on what they do for all of us.

Health care and public health -- Medicine isn’t an exact science, as the continually evolving new coronavirus symptoms and treatments and safety measures have made clear. As frustrating as that can be, the medical professionals not only care for us when we get ill, they also are at the forefront of helping us help to keep ourselves and our neighbors well.

Infrastructure -- Public works crews keep the water safe to drink and ensure that wastewater is treated. Utility workers keep the power on. We know that roads and bridges are sound. Thankfully, because of their expertise we don’t need to worry about those things in addition to pandemic problems.

Public safety and first responders -- Officers and deputies, paramedics and EMTs, firefighters and rescue teams continue to respond to calls for help. Heart attacks, drownings, fires and burglaries won’t take a holiday this weekend, and these responders won’t either.

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Food and agriculture -- Farmers grow and produce the food, distributors get it from point A to point B, stores sell it and restaurants serve it. They are keeping us fed.

Educators -- We include teachers, custodians, administrators, support staff, cooks and bus drivers in this list.

Communications -- There are days when people suffer information overload, but when we need to know, we can pick up our smartphones, fire up the internet, turn on the television or sit down with the newspaper. People in many countries aren’t so lucky.

Manufacturing -- Industry has shifted to produce what we need when we need it. Factory workers have cranked out PPE, sanitizer, masks, plexiglass and more. We know of nowhere else in the world that could have done this as quickly and as safely as they have.

Financial services -- Contactless payment has become the norm. Cash is no longer king. Imagine where we would be without safe banking and payment systems.

Charitable and social services organizations -- Sometimes you just need a little help -- or a lot. We live surrounded by caring, generous people.

Child care providers -- Thank you for quality care. You play a key role in the continuing success of the workforce. Without you there to care for their children, many essential workers wouldn’t be able to do their vital jobs and then everyone would be worse off.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.

Long may we all continue to labor.