Adapting to and Overcoming Challenges
Over the past several weeks, we have found ourselves waking up not knowing how our world would change as the day moved forward. First we started hearing about a virus in an area of China which many, myself included, had never heard of. Then we were hearing information about it coming towards America and being told to wash our hands and not show up to work if we were sick. As the virus continued to spread across the globe, there still was no real impact on our daily routines. Then phrases like social distancing and flattening the curve started becoming heard more frequently. Before we knew it the shelves at the grocery stores were bare and schools decided to close for long weekends to allow for deep cleaning of facilities.
Over the past several days things have escalated dramatically. In person instruction at our school campuses have discontinued for this school year. Meetings and community events have been cancelled. Even casino's and many churches have changed their normal operations.
We all anguish for the kids who may not get to experience prom and graduation or who are missing out on senior trips and spring sports as well as our elderly neighbors who are nervous about running to the store. People are anxious. They are understandably nervous about their jobs, health and family. Our norms and routines today are considerably different than what they were this time last week and as creatures of habit having our daily lives disrupted leaves a lot to complain about.
Despite all the ways we have been challenged recently, one thing is crystal clear. The spirit of people within our community is phenomenal. Each time an obstacle has presented itself there have been those who quickly put their emotions aside and have asked how they could help make things better.
There are numerous examples from just the past couple of days. Some in our community have focused on providing a prom-like experience to students down the road while others are ensuring this year's seniors will have some sort of ceremony - although at a later date - to celebrate their amazing accomplishments.
Our area school superintendents have unflinchingly displayed their concern, along with that of their staffs, for the children of this community. In addition to developing plans to help with off-site methods of learning, they have also been focusing on making sure each child is fed while school is out of session. As amazing and compassionate as that is, before their meal plan was announced, a local businessman stepped up to say he would provide meals to the children, if needed.
Even stores are helping out by creating special hours for seniors and offering free delivery services.
Certain days new information and guidelines on a whole range of issues are coming in on what seems like an hourly basis, but there are those who have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure core government functions remain strong. Local leaders from our city halls, police departments, ambulance services, mental health, social services, fire departments, sheriff's office, emergency management, hospitals, schools and nursing homes, have been collaborating to try and ensure our community health and safety needs are being met.
And while we all are experiencing frustrations, my hope is that what actually spreads is the tenacity and positivity shown already by so many throughout this community.
We can find new ways to socialize. Several schools and organizations are encouraging students to use technology to send videos to seniors in nursing homes or write "pen-pal" letters to shut ins. Churches are getting creative on how to provide for the spiritual needs of our community, many of whom are live-streaming their services. Others have chosen to have an increased number of services to accommodate smaller gatherings.
That is what being a community is all about and what makes this particular community especially amazing. Time and time again, regardless of the challenges we've faced, we've faced them together. People reach out to help others solely because it's the right thing to do. We care for one another! And because of that attitude, that caring spirit, if we focus on the positives and find ways to help lift each other up we will get through this challenge, just as we have in the past.
As I do every night, I'll spend some time this evening praying for our team at the Sheriff's Office, other first responders, medical teams, along with our county and country as a whole. If you're so inclined, I'd ask you to do the same.
Sheriff David Groves