As Veterans day approaches each year, I like to take time to reflect on my service, how it has changed my life’s trajectory and shaped who I have become. Serving in the military focused my purpose around protecting others: protecting my community after 9/11, protecting my brothers and sisters as we ventured into combat, protecting my fellow veterans as we transitioned back into a difficult world. So it was no surprise to me that as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, I found myself once again seeking to safeguard others, as the Deputy Director of Response Operations for the State of New York. [...]