Rise_Rusher_Oral History 2020/05/14


Title (Dublin Core)

Rise_Rusher_Oral History 2020/05/14

Description (Dublin Core)

This interview is part of a collection compiled by Glennda McGann for the COVID-19 Oral History Project
Rise Rusher is a retired critical care nurse. She is a widow and lives very simply. Her immediate family and friends have not contracted COVID-19, but a few acquaintances have. Personally, her life remained the same before the pandemic and during it. She is a volunteer for an organization that feeds the hungry and teaches people to cook and care for themselves, called Second Helpings, located in Indianapolis. ( Rusher stressed the need for people to be kind to each other and care for each other. She also mentioned that we knew a pandemic was inevitable and would be coming, that another will come again. Rusher’s hope is that we learn from this one as we have from the pandemics in the past. She enjoys being outside, walking, and riding her bike. She tries to find little things to do to give her joy.
Volunteer for IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute

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Type (Dublin Core)


Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)


Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Collection (Dublin Core)

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Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Glennda McGann

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Rise Rusher

Location (Omeka Classic)

United States

Format (Dublin Core)


Coverage (Dublin Core)

Pandemic period from mid March 2020 to date of interview May 14, 2020

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Transcription (Omeka Classic)

This is not an official transcription, this transcription was created using AI technology.

Interviewer: Glennda McGann
Interviewee: Rise Rusher
May 14, 2020
Interview done for IUPUI Arts and Humanities for COVID-19 Oral History Project
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
#COVID-19, shutdown, Indianapolis, Indiana, healthcareworker, pandemic, Over60, foodways,
simplelife, Second Helpings, volunteer, outdoors
Abstract: Rise Rusher is a retired critical care nurse. She is a widow and lives very simply. Her immediate
family and friends have not contracted COVID-19, but a few acquaintances have. Personally, her life
remained the same before the pandemic and during it. She is a volunteer for an organization that feeds
the hungry and teaches people to cook and care for themselves, called Second Helpings, located in
Indianapolis. ( Rusher stressed the
need for people to be kind to each other and care for each other. She also mentioned that we knew a
pandemic was inevitable and would be coming, that another will come again. Rusher’s hope is that we
learn from this one as we have from the pandemics in the past. She enjoys being outside, walking, and
riding her bike. She tries to find little things to do to give her joy.
(Note: the timestamp feature stopped working after 22:45 due to a glitch.)
Rusher: Did you get my consent, I felt like I sent it but I can't. If I did not mail it to you or.
McGann: Let me check my email really quickly.
Rusher: Okay. Yeah, I'm not the best at doing like, stuff like that. I downloaded into a PDF signed it, and
then trying to send it back but
I don't see it in here yet but who knows it might be stuck in a server someplace we'll figure it out. Okay.
But so far it hasn't come over. Okay, what is the date and time.
Rusher: It is May 14 1:54 pm.
McGann: Thank you. What is your name?
Rusher: Rise Rusher.
McGann: What are the primary things you do on a day to day basis your job extracurricular activities?
Rusher: I am a retired critical care nurse, so no job to speak of. I volunteer at a nonprofit in Indianapolis,
Indiana. Can I tell you the name?
McGann: Sure.
Rusher: Second Helpings. And right now I'm spending most of my time trying to help them during the
McGann: Okay. And the next question was, where do you live you mentioned Indianapolis?
Rusher: Yes, I live downtown right in the thick of things on the White River canal.
McGann: What is it like to live there?
Rusher: I think it's great. Yeah, I just feel like it's nice to be downtown in the middle of things. Yeah,
there's always lots going on, lots to see and do. It's just a really nice place to be. I live in a variety of
habitats, and this is nice urban living.
McGann: When you first learned about COVID-19, what were your thoughts about it?
Rusher: Initially I was like everybody else just trying to make note of it. I mean I've been following it
since the first cases out broke in Wuhan. And, you know, at that time, it seems pretty remote, but a lot
of things do remind me a lot of like the SARS and different outbreaks of different things in the past. So I
was just trying to be vigilant just you know make sure I was informed about what it was just, just
tracking it like everybody else just trying to see where it was headed or if it were headed. So yeah, I was
pretty, pretty calm at first, just make to make sure I was staying informed.
McGann: How have your thoughts changed since then?
Rusher: It’s definitely evolved. It started out with just some cases on the west coast and then it just
seemed like overnight, then it caught on fire, and just spread throughout the country. So yeah, it kind of
went from just something to maintain a little bit of watchfulness about to something that you're in the
middle of. Seemed remote, now it doesn't.
McGann: What issues have most concerned you about the covid 19 pandemic?
Rusher: It's just the number of people that are obviously getting very very ill from it and dying. I mean as
a critical care nurse I could immediately visualize what was going on on the front lines in the hospitals,
and so I knew it was deadly serious. I mean, I never had any doubt about that. And, yeah, just that, more
than anything. I've been in the critical care environment so I can easily imagine what was going on there.
McGann: This next section of questions has to do with employment and since you've already mentioned
that you're retired but you're volunteering, I'm just going to swap out the word employment for
volunteering if it's applicable it's for questions.
Rusher: Okay.
McGann: How has COVID-19 effective your volunteering?
Rusher: It's really just affected the way I do it more than anything, I mean I'm still volunteering like I had
been. It's a really great nonprofit, and I knew from the get-go, they would be considered essential during
all of this. So I just tried to make sure I stayed in contact with them. I knew their need for volunteers
would change and then the availability for the volunteers that they had to be able to continue doing
what they were doing would change. So I just tried to stay informed about what I can continue to do to
help them more than anything.
McGann: How has COVID-19 changed your volunteer status?
Rusher: I don't know that it's changed as much I've always been a pretty loyal volunteer. Yeah, I don't
think it's changed as much as al.l I'm still very, very proud to be a part of the organization and I still try to
get in there and help them as much as I can.
McGann: So same number of hours that sort of thing same types of things?
Rusher: Probably just a little bit more just because they need it. And just how I go about it is a little bit
different than. All in all, is still the same rock solid place trying to get out there and do what they always
McGann: and what exactly is that that they do? And that you do?
Rusher: Second Helpings is a nonprofit and they are basically are a hunger relief, food rescue, job
training organization. What they do is they get food from different sources around the city. It's good
food it's from, you know, grocery stores, restaurants, food suppliers food distribution centers all sorts of
places in his food that would otherwise go to waste. being brought in made into meals and sent out to
people that are in need of food.
McGann: What concerns, do you have about the effects of COVID-19 on your volunteering and the
economy more broadly?
Rusher: I don't really feel like it will affect me personally as a volunteer as long as I stay healthy and I'm
able to get in there and try to help them.
McGann: And on the economy more broadly?
Rusher: You know I don't know that I don't really give much thought to that question.
Rusher: I mean, as far as Second Helpings goes they are filling a big need right now, I mean there's just a
lot of people that are in need of help when it comes to sourcing food. I think they'll just continue to
grow. And then with unemployment being what it is and just folks being in trouble and need a little bit
of help as far as keeping themselves.
McGann: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the employment of people that you know?
Rusher: I know of some folks I mean being a nurse, a lot of my colleagues are still working because
they're essential workers on the front line. A lot of my friends and families are retired so employment
hasn't really affected them. I guess I have some younger people in my life, whose jobs have suffered
because of this. But all in all, in my small world has not seen a lot of that. But I'm aware that it's, it's out
there and it's a, it's a real thing for a lot of people.
McGann: This next section is about family and household. How has COVID-19 affected you and or your
family's day to day activities?
Rusher: I'll be honest with me it's, it's just me since I'm a widow and it doesn't keep a whole lot to keep
me going. So other than just, you know, keeping myself fed and, and trying to stay healthy. My life really
hasn't changed much. I mean it's just a fact, I mean I am appreciative of how other people's lives have
changed so drastically with job loss and kids’ education and that but for me personally, I mean it's not
impacted me on a personal level. I’m just well aware of it. And, yeah, worried about it.
McGann: How are you managing day to day activities in your household?
Rusher: Pretty much the same. [laughs slightly] I mean I strive to try to stay home as recommended. But
when I can, and when I feel like it's appropriate, get out and enjoy sunshine and fresh air and yeah I still
try to take all the safety precautions and get out to the stores as needed, but I don't do a lot of frivolous
kind of running around because I think it's important that we all not do that until the science catches up
with what's going on and we can get this thing more under control. And I don't want my actions to affect
somebody else just if I'm asymptomatic and out there I don't want to get other people said so. Pretty
simple life. [laugh]
McGann: Oh has the COVID-19 outbreak affected how you interact and communicate with family and
Rusher: I'm very fortunate I mean I still have family that check in on me and I on them and same with
friends. Of course there's always that miss enjoyment of just being in, you know, with people. But I think
everybody, pretty much understands that just needs to be for the time being and they're kind of
adapting to it and yeah, trying to take care of each other as we can as much as we can in this unusual
Rusher: I have a really really lovely cousin that I missing. [laughs] But that will return.
McGann: What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced personally during the covid 19
Rusher: Just worried about my loved ones that are affected by it. Just like everybody else. I mean, it's
just something that's beyond all of our control, so just they just dealing with that. Just knowing there's
just so much you can't do and then trying to figure out the things you can do and then figuring out how
to do.
McGann: What have you, your family and friends done for recreation during the covid 19 outbreak? And
you're welcome to include details about any shows you binge watched or games or books, anything.
Rusher: I get outdoors as much as possible. I mean, I'll go to the state parks and hike and ride my bike,
can I love to read. I try to stay on top of the news and things like that but not to the point where it's
detrimental. A little bit of movie watching. I’d like to say I'm one of those persons that have embraced
the opportunity to learn to play the piano or learn a new language or something but I keep it pretty
simple, I just try to find little things, to enjoy and yeah keep, keep everything good as far as mental
health issues. Yeah.
McGann: And now switching to a category of questions about community. How has the COVID-19
outbreak affected your community? And you can define community, however you like whether it's
related to your volunteerism, or your close friends or your city, however, or in as many ways as you
would like to try to define it.
Rusher: I just think it's like everybody else it's just, you're a little bit isolated from things that you're
usually not isolated from. I don't I really don't feel like my community has changed that much to me.
Hopefully, you know, it'll stay that way but everybody in my small circle of friends and family seem to be
coping and staying healthy. Yeah, so I don't know that it's changed a lot. I hope it stays that way but I
mean this is kind of a data time thing.
McGann: How are people around you responding to the covid 19 pandemic?
Rusher: No surprises there I mean the people in my life that are involved in their church or whatever
they continue to do that think they of course corrected [unintelligible] where necessary. Everybody that
had gainful employment is still employed. I don't think the people I know has changed a whole lot, other
than maybe their areas of concern for different people have shifted a little bit.
McGann: How have the opinions activities and relationships of people around you changed in response
to the pandemic?
Rusher: It seems like politics gets pulled into this a lot. I don't know that nobody’s opinions have really
changed on anything if anything they're heightened. So, yeah, no big changes.
McGann: Self-isolation and flattening the curve have been two key ideas that have emerged during this
pandemic. How have you, your family and friends, and community responded to requests to self isolate
and flatten the curve?
Rusher: We're pretty good at self-isolating I don't know what that says about us but from the get go, I
mean everybody in my family and circle or friends they locked down pretty hard.
McGann: Oh and flattening the curve? Have you seen that?
Rusher: Yeah, I feel like, not just friends but just the whole community at large, at least here in this part
of the Midwest, I think they did a really good job. I think they took all those people took the personal
responsibility of staying home and and self-quarantining self-isolating I think they took it very seriously. I
think it's basically very seriously and I think they did a really good job of flattening the curve here in
Indiana. I don't know that we could have done any better job. I’m kind of proud of people, at least from
what I've observed.
McGann: We're good, real good Hoosiers.
McGann: In what ways has COVID-19 changed your relationship with family, friends and community.
Rusher: Well, maybe we check in on each other a little bit more. I mean, my family and friends were
kind of the mindset that a lot of times, no news is good news. I mean we tend to reach out to each other
when things are up. So I think if anything we're doing a little bit more of that. But all in all, I mean, it's
that it's not an obsessive thing.It's just people check in on each other and they trust each other that if
they need help, they let somebody know and vice versa. So, yeah, really, much like everybody else.
McGann: What has been your direct experience you or anyone you know with the COVID-19 sickness?
Rusher: Let's see. I've known some acquaintances, that have had it, and recovered. Within a few distant
acquaintances have had it and not recovered, but really nobody in the close circle of family and friends
has had it or so far tested positive. I mean even folks on the front lines of health care—that I know
anyhow—they’ve not tested positive—they’ve not actually acquired it. So I don't, I don't have a whole
lot of folks that I know of that have had it. And, of course, that could change overnight.
McGann: In what ways do you think that COVID-19 is affecting people's mental and or physical health?
Rusher: That's a biggie. I mean, I know folks it's just the whole unknown of where we're headed with
this and when it's cool you know things are going to shift towards the better. I think there's an
understandable worry about that. And a lot of anxiety, with the unknown. I think most people are
managing that pretty well. We're still pretty early into this scenario. So it could be that people were
more than with those sorts of things as, as this goes on but, you know, Hoosiers are pretty solid people. I
think they've just dug in and they're just doing the best they can just see where this is all headed and I'm
just trying to keep the stress and anxiety about it under control and they they're doing what they always
do is just attack it with practical things, you know, try to be productive, to help each other, and not get
too caught up and just the worry of it.
McGann: What have been your primary sources of news during the pandemic?
Rusher: I try to make sure I get it from a variety of sources. I don't know that I should mention any
particulars but, yeah, I just try to stay good enough just to make her feel like I'm understanding what's
going on but then not get overloaded with… I tried to stick with the science side of things and not too
much with the finger pointing or that sort of thing. I'm real careful about where I get my news from
trying to make sure it's from trusted sources that I've always gotten news from. Just being careful about
it, and just try to be wise about what it is I'm listening to and acting on.
McGann: So, have your news sources changed at all during the course of the pandemic?
Rusher: Not, not one bit.
McGann: What do you think are important issues that the media may not be covering or is covering, I
should say?
Rusher: I know my sources. Anyhow, I think it's just a matter of: it changes daily and just trying to keep
current on what's going on. Yeah. And, just the science behind it. I feel like most of the information that
I'm hearing seems to be pretty solid. But I try not to jump to any conclusions about any one particular
thing. Just trying to stay informed about what is going on.
McGann: How have municipal leaders and government officials in your community responded to the
Rusher: I think they've been pretty appropriate, where I am anyhow, um, as far as closing down, the
slow openings of things. And it was difficult early on, it was just a judgment call, but I think for the most
part, things were done appropriately, maybe not as soon as they should.
Rusher: I feel like we shut things down pretty hard and fast here in Indiana which was the right thing to
do. At the time the only time will tell, really, if it was the right thing to do if we did it soon enough. Once
again, history is going to be the big teacher here. So, yeah, I think they've locally they've done the best
job that they could have hoped to have done.
McGann: Do you have any thoughts on the differences in response, among local, state, and federal
levels of the leadership in the crisis?
Rusher: I think probably at the local levels, we did a better job than at the national level. I just think it
was ignored a little bit too long up front on the national level I think some things that happened before
all of this probably were to our disadvantage too as far as things, the national level. I think they could’ve
done a better job at the national level.
McGann: Just three more questions.
Rusher: Okay.
Rusher: I think had we had better people in leadership, I think that's the level, we would have been
much better off. Yeah, well personal bias there.
McGann: Okay, on to the next question.
McGann: How has your experience transformed how you think about family, friends and community?
Rusher: Um, I think they're, this will probably start a little bit of a shift and back towards the things that
are more important. I mean as any crisis does. But yeah, we just need to be kinder to each other and
look out for each other a little bit more, not get too caught up and things that just really aren't that
important. So yeah, things like that, just. Yeah, we're all we got so we need to help each other.
McGann: Knowing what you know now what do you think that individuals, communities, or
governments need to keep in mind for the future?
Rusher: Well, I think this was a long time coming. And I think we knew that. That is just when it's not
important you know when it's not inevitable immediately inevitable. We tend not to worry about it too
much so I think this is just another wakeup call that, that this is a thing this, you know, there always be
pandemics so obviously things like this happening. So we probably should do a better job of not losing
sight of that. Because it's gonna happen. It's just how the world is at this point. History has proven that. I
mean, this won't be the last pandemic. So, hopefully we'll learn from this one just like we have all the
ones in the past and make good use of what we've learned to the future.
McGann: Are there any other thoughts you'd like to add?
Rusher: I don't think so.
Rusher: I just appreciate being a part of this I think what you're doing is very valuable. I think that it’s
kind of an honor to be asked to participate, so I'll be anxious to see the project that is completed and
the sorts of data that you've archived. Looking forward to hear what other people have to say,
McGann: Okay, Well thank you very much for your time today and I'm going to stop recording at this
point. Okay, thank you.

Date Accepted (Dublin Core)

2020/05/23 11:31:00 AM AST

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