Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Community leaders and residents didn't give up, difficult as this pandemic made things

If you haven't taken a look at this edition's COVID-themed year in review article, you should. On the one hand, it is a bit painful to look back at the past year and remember all of the things that were taken away from Crook County residents as well as everybody throughout the country and the world. But on the other hand, it gives us a chance to reflect on not only how far we have come since the pandemic first began – stuck at home with nowhere to go and very little to do – and how impressively resilient this community has been in the face of significant adversity.

One thing that you will notice as you look back at COVID's impact on the year is that the impact was felt very quickly. Consider that in February, about 600 people packed the indoor arena at the fairgrounds for the Crooked River Roundup gala, and during the first weekend of March, at least as many people filled the Crook County High School auditorium on consecutive nights to enjoy the annual Prineville Follies. Literally two weeks later, multiple executive orders from the governor had mandated the closure of most local businesses, schools and churches and people were urged not to leave the home unless it was for essential needs.

Changes this drastic in such a short period of time are incredibly rare. One would be hard-pressed to find many other scenarios where such a dramatic change of everyday life occurs so quickly – maybe a sudden war outbreak or perhaps a natural disaster?

It was painful and people were understandably devastated to see so many sources of pleasure vanish and so many traditions canceled. We were sad, we were angry, and we were lost. We were basically grounded, like punished children, only we hadn't done anything wrong to deserve it.

In situations like these, it would be easy and understandable to crumble under the pressure and misery. School district leaders could have dragged their feet in developing an online education option, or even decided not to pursue one at all. People would not have been surprised if restaurants decided it was too difficult to flip to take-out only. It would not be shocking if the Crook County Fair leaders decided the challenge of hosting its annual event was too significant to try.

But community leaders and residents didn't give up, difficult as this pandemic made things. Restaurants made a switch to take-out dining so quickly, it was as if they had developed a contingency plan months in advance. Likewise, the schools put together an online option quickly enough that students missed little education time. The fair was still held, even though it meant organizers had to spread it out across the community to stay within gathering guidelines. Even local residents helped out, whether it was donating food or making masks.

Painful events give people a chance to rise to the occasion, and this past year was probably the most painful in recent memory – and people certainly showed their resilience. This should give us all hope as 2021 begins. The pandemic isn't over yet, but with vaccines now in rotation and a greater understanding of the coronavirus attained, there is reason to believe that daily life will continue to improve. And while it is still painful, at least we know what people in this community are capable of.


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