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To a ‘T’

South Boston News / May 18, 2020
Shawn Barksdale, who lives in the Long Island area at the Halifax-Campbell county line, is a regular watcher of press conferences by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been widely hailed for his response to the coronavirus crisis in the wake of more than 28,000 deaths in the Empire State.

In such troubling times, Barksdale said he has been impressed by how transparent and authentic Cuomo has seemed in his daily press conferences, which have become appointment TV for many cable news viewers. Inspired by the governor’s response, Barksdale designed a tee shirt and wrote a letter in praise of the Big Apple and mailed off the package to Cuomo’s office.

“It really gives people hope to hear someone of authority speak with clarity and optimism,” said Barksdale.

To his surprise, Barksdale heard back from Cuomo, with a letter that expressed his appreciation for the gesture.

“I was not looking for a response for surely he is a very busy man,” Barksdale said.

When the letter showed up in his mailbox with the header, State of New York, Executive Chamber, “I rushed to open it as I sat in my car, reading how he [Cuomo] appreciated not only the Build Back Better t-shirt, but how much it meant to him that his message was received all over the country.”

Barksdale has family members and friends who live in New York, but no one he knows has been directly affected by COVID-19. It was mostly an empathetic feeling towards an area that had been hard-hit by the virus that inspired him to act.

“That is why I put the Statue of Liberty in the middle with the bold letters reading BUILD BACK BETTER. I placed the NYC in red, white and blue because New York has been hit the hardest, but I believe under the great management of Gov. Cuomo the city and state will build back better,” said Barksdale.

On several occasions during his press conferences, Cuomo has shown off the hundreds of masks, letters and expressions of support he has received from people around the country. That group now includes a local resident.

“It is moments like these that gives our nation hope that we will build back better,” said Barksdale.

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