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Thoughts for Dealing with this Crisis

Today we face a major challenge as a county and a community in combatting the COVID-19 virus. Tuolumne County’s residents are joining this battle along with fellow citizens throughout the state and nation. This is probably the first time in our lifetimes that all the world is impacted by the same serious challenge at one time.

We will win this fight if we work together supporting one another. More than a century ago pioneering automaker Henry Ford declared “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Ford knew this truth well, building the first major assembly line production. Success required that he needed a team to work together to create that success. So it is for us today.

We have experienced other challenges. Eighty years ago, America was attacked without warning. On December 7, 1941, 2,500 Americans lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. We were in such bad shape that private vessels had to be commandeered to return sailors to Hawaii. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, our allies in Europe were waging war with the highly sophisticated and extensive Nazi war machine. They had fast aircraft and awesome technology.

It was the great engine of private enterprise plus the thousands of nonprofits and churches that came together with the American government to propel our nation to victory during this critical time. For example, we had no troop carriers to get our men to the battlefield. In the San Francisco Bay area, for example, as many as five “Liberty Ships” were produced a day by private enterprise! More than 750 ships were produced by average citizens just in the Bay Area that went to work making Rosie the Riveter a household name.

Today we face a new and unseen enemy that we don’t yet fully understand. Here again, we see the private sector and nonprofits and churches joining this new fight with the government at every level. Every one of us are taking part in our own personal action of staying home and curbing the spread of this dangerous disease.

Many of our neighbors here in Tuolumne County are on the frontline as doctors, nurses, and others in health care. There are also those that take risks each day just keeping the shelves of our grocery stores stocked. There are First Responders that are risking their health every day just dealing with the day-to-day situations and those compounded by this crisis.

This is a fight that requires each of us to do our part. While it is critical for we, in county government, to do everything we can to support and protect our residents, this is a fight we are all in together. The legendary owner of the Dallas Cowboys Tom Landry one time remarked: “The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.” I am happy to see the bi-partisan management of our Democratic Governor Gavin Newsome and Republican President Donald Trump working together for the people of our state and our community. The mantra of the Federally supported, State-managed and Locally executed response is exactly what is needed at this juncture. This is the kind of consistent committed management we need to win and beat this disease. We all need to play our part.

Very importantly as we continue in our community struggle against COVID-19, stresses will accumulate on us all individually and as families and, for those working, co-workers. It is imperative that each day we take those steps to mitigate and minimize the accumulation of those stresses if we are to maintain our positive spirit and our productivity. No one can keep us healthier and safer than we can keep ourselves. We need to abide by the Health Officers’ orders. We should isolate in place when not conducting essential business as defined by the orders. When we do need to go out for essential business, we always need to actively practice safe social distancing and wear a face mask when near others. While we are isolating in place, we should take care of our physical, mental and emotional health as well. We can do that by exercising, managing our diets, getting outside, and ensuring we maintain a healthy sleep cycle. For all those chores or projects we all have been putting off for tomorrow, now is a good time to make that tomorrow happen. While we must physically isolate to effectively combat this disease, we need not totally disconnect socially. Give your friends a call. Not only do we connect with them, it is an opportunity for us to check up on their health and spirit as well. Stay active and stay connected even while you isolate in place. Finally, we should focus on those things that we can control ourselves and not those things that are under the control of others. We should always remember that we cannot know what is going on in someone else’s head or heart, whether they are doing something essential or not. We should give the other person the benefit of the doubt. It is what goes on in our own head and heart that effects our wellbeing.

Together, and only together, we will get through this crisis. When we do, we will come out the other side in many ways the stronger for it. Our Tuolumne County community always comes together when we need to. Now we need to come together more than ever before.