Van Beek: Tie a yellow ribbon — we are united
According to Dictionary.com, displaying “a yellow-colored ribbon is a symbol of solidarity with soldiers in combat, political hostages, etc.” While many of us have felt like political hostages during campaign season, we are all united as “soldiers” in combat against COVID-19.
As we travel across the uncertain terrain of this pandemic, one thing has emerged … we are united.
In a community such as ours, we join together in times of crisis. We experienced it recently during the Lake Christine fires, where civilians worked right alongside with first responders. Shops donated goods, people cooked meals, volunteers showed up at relief centers, people took in family pets, even visitors jumped in to help. It’s just who we are.
Now, we are jointly facing an enemy of unknown proportions. The numbers are changing daily, and they are not yet heading down. At this point, it is only a guess as to when our current situation will change, and things will return to normal.
During that process, we have adapted.
- Restaurants are offering an amazing selection of take-out options.
- Grocery stores are doing their best to accommodate the increased demand for certain goods (don’t get me started on the toilet paper shortage for a respiratory infection).
- Businesses are getting creative with digital services.
- Retail is expanding with online options.
- Telehealth has become the standard, which if adapted permanently, will become an economical norm.
- We are learning to stagger our needs to accommodate respectful (social) distancing and still achieve what needs to get done.
- We are meeting our neighbors, on front porches, as we venture outdoors.
- We are reconnecting with family in ways we hadn’t previously imagined.
- Many of us are pursuing new interests or rekindling old ones.
While there is the stress of uncertainty in our current situation, there are many benefits that can emerge, as we disconnect from some areas and reconnect in others.
During this time of social distancing and degrees of quarantine, it’s possible to think that we are alone, particularly if we live in an isolated area … but nothing could be further from the truth.
There are people across Eagle County who are going above and beyond in their commitment to the community. Some are first responders, others are regular citizens who are discovering new ways in which they can contribute to their neighbors, as we all journey together on this challenging path.
In our continued commitment to our neighbors, let’s remember that it’s the little things that make a huge difference.
We might consider expanding our chores to include those of a neighbor. While shoveling snow or mowing a lawn, perhaps consider expanding it to include that senior down the street, as well.
If we see something on sale at the grocery store, picking up an extra one and leaving it on a neighbor’s porch with a happy note. Kids are out of school and it would be a great lesson to teach them the importance of helping one another in times of crisis if they would run an errand or walk the dog of a neighbor in need.
For those who may not be aware of the depth of community involvement, I propose a yellow ribbon campaign. When you see this visible sign of support, you will not feel alone any longer.
Let’s start by placing a yellow ribbon/yarn on our front door, or if unavailable, even a simple index card colored with a yellow highlighter pen, as a symbol that we are here for one another and will always remain a community united in friendship and concern for others. Let’s see how wide it will spread.
Imagine walking around your neighborhood or driving to the store, and seeing tons of yellow ribbons, placed there just for you. People you know and total strangers are there for support. Take snapshots of communities draped in yellow, and place them on social media, to let others know that Eagle County is strong and by keeping our distance, we are closer than ever.
The splashes of bright yellow all across town, against the majesty of our mountains, will be an image that will not only warm the heart but inspire our friends and neighbors, that we are united through this and anything else that comes our way.
We are all in this together and everyone could use some help from time to time. During times of crisis is when the American spirit soars, and we will join together in moving forward. We can do more as a team than any one person can accomplish alone.
We are strong and we will not be defeated!
James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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