Dear Chamber and Community Members,
I am writing this letter to you from inside my home where I have been this week much like you. Our family has watched news reports, often times turning the channel when the weight of information was too much to bear. We also became acutely aware of the many activities we take for granted: meeting friends and family at a local restaurant, shopping for groceries, attending sporting events, going to church, dropping in the local bakery for breakfast, the list goes on.
The current environment we find ourselves in is one of uncertainty. The effects of COVID-19 are far reaching with exponential effects not only to our health but also to our economy and way of life. There is no doubt that our community will come out on the other side of this with tools and resources we hope to never employ again.
Our actions today are directly proportionate to the amount of success we will find long after COVID-19 leaves the United States. As I mentioned before, if you are at home longing for the day you can enjoy a delicious meal at your favorite locally owned restaurant with your family, or wishing you could attend the local high school baseball game, please know that the actions we take today are vital to the victory of returning to our way of life.
Without our small business community: jerseys can’t be purchased, hard working students aren’t able to attend state competitions, events cease to be held, fundraisers fail, the need to drive out of town increases and with it all of our hopes and goals for the place we call “home” drive out of sight with it.
Our actions today determine if our cities will rise above the turmoil we currently are face-to-face with. We will rise, by the way. We always do. It is the American Spirit that triumphs during uncertain circumstances. In the face of 9/11 our country put aside its differences and celebrated the many ways we are united. Our faith and grit pulled us through and will again.
Support your small business owners, purchase their products and services if you can (or gift cards). And if you can’t, give them a call just to let them know you’re thinking about them. Comment on their social media outlets letting them know they are appreciated. If they have sponsored your child, non-profit or organization, let them know again how thankful you are.
Our small business owners are the illustration of the American Dream. They are not merely a name on a sign outside of a building, however they have faces and a family. We as a community are a family. May it always be on our heart to take care of each other.
Blair Elrod, Executive Director of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce