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A VIRUS JOURNAL

             
            A COMMUNITY'S THOUGHTS - CONCORDIA, KS
                                  March 25, 2020

In 2020 our world changed forever. In one way or another COVID-19 - the coronavirus - will affect every human being on Earth, even those of us in Concordia, Kansas.
The Blade-Empire is publishing a community journal. It will be an ongoing record of the thoughts of our citizens as we embark on this journey through the crisis.
Tell us what you think; your thoughts, fears and hopes for yourself, loved ones, and your fellow Americans.
You may use your name; or you may anonymously identify yourself, for example: a 35-year-old female; a 70-year-old farmer; a mother of 4; a nurse; a grocery store worker, etc.
When this pandemic is over, the Blade-Empire will publish the journal as a book. The thoughts of Concordians will become a time capsule of our community's journey through the virus crisis, and a historical record for future generations to remember.

From Proud to be an American: The world is gripped by fear of the coronavirus, and our nation has entered a time of uncertainty. It made me remember a story my father once told. I was going to college full-time at CCCC and working full-time at Boogaarts, and I was complaining about how hard it was. My father looked at me and said: "When I was 18 years old, I stepped on a ship and went to fight a world war. I didn't know if I was ever coming back."
80 years ago, when my father set sail for war, the world was on the brink of destruction. Millions of American men and women began a journey into the unknown. For five long years they stood tall against an unrelenting evil and helped save the world.
Not all of those brave Americans came home. But those who did, though battered and scarred by the journey, built a better world for their children, and transformed the United States of America into the greatest nation on Earth.
Tom Brokaw famously referred those valiant men and women as "The Greatest Generation."
Now it's our turn.
We are again in a world war. This time the enemy is faceless, but it is a vicious and virulent enemy nonetheless, and it will kill anyone - even children - without mercy. This time, instead of armed soldiers, it is our doctors and nurses and medical personnel on the front lines trying to protect us from harm, and trying to save those who have already been harmed.
Why is History class taught in school? So that we remember the bravery and accomplishments of our ancestors. If you need strength now, remember the fortitude of our founding fathers when they forged a new nation; remember the heroism of our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents as they dared, time-and-time-again, to stand tall against evil, genocide, and tyranny.
If we look to the past we will find the courage to confront the future.
Democracy is not a perfect institution; America is a flawed nation. But it is the greatest nation on Earth because free people have an indomitable spirit and a will to live that is forever unbowed. We will make it through the dark days ahead because we, as Americans, always overcome the challenges we face. It's in our blood.
What we do in the coming months will define our generation in the annals of time. 10 years from now - 20 years; 50 years into the future - History classes will teach our children and grandchildren how we responded to the crisis. Let's show them that Americans, Kansans, and Concordians once again stood tall, and created a better world for the generations to come.

From a mother of two children: This situation is beyond anything I could possibly imagine happening in my lifetime. While there is quite of bit of chaos created (lack of toilet paper for example) questions unanswered:  am I going to have to work from home? How will that work with my kids being home as well? If I am working a full day and my kids have to complete online learning, what does that look like? There have also been many positive things happening too: school personnel coming together to plan for a whole new way of educating our kids, community members coming together to help one another and families spending time together. We have certainly been inconvenienced and even had to cancel a long awaited vacation; but I think many of the things we’ve taken for granted will mean so much more once all of this is over.

From Brandt Hutchinson, Concordia Middle School counselor: As a counselor for middle school students, I was immediately uneasy about the state’s decision to cancel school because I know the toll that might have on the students I see. Some of my students suffer from anxiety, social issues, and face challenges in the home. School is often a refuge for them and in school, they have no barriers to counseling. I understand that cancelling school will help to flatten the curve and spread out the time of infection but I now have a ceiling on my communication with some of our most vulnerable students.

From Anonymous: I went shopping today at Walmart, for my elderly neighbor.

Ted Collins, age 78: I was somewhat prepared for the lack of vehicles on Main Street.
But I’ve been really surprised that so few people are out walking or jogging on the streets. On foot and outside it is relatively easy to maintain social distancing. It is also a healthy way to take a break from 24/7 news and four walls.
Hats off to the people that are maintaining our health, our safety, our utilities and our food source.
Thank you Blade-Empire for your paper and requesting our opinion.

An employee in the health care field: You start talking to your husband about drawing up a will...

Ty Gennette, co-owner of Easy G Sports Grill: The Easy G story has been a roller coaster for all of our team. As the virus spread, Easy G instantly starting seeing minor effects. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of emotions for our staff. The weight of 35 employees and their livelihood is on my mind. My dad had forwarded Dr. Breault's social media post. As I was reading the post it really made me sit back and think how much bigger the situation was than Easy G Sports Grill. I had several calls that day with a co-owner trying to talk it out, what our plans were moving forward. As a business owner, it is so hard to make a decision that will impact so many of our employees lives, and their families. Our Easy G team is like family to me. I care for our workers as if they were my own family because they are.
I've had to cut staff. For now the health department has helped me lay out what they would be comfortable with seating-wise inside the restaurant. It was so hard to break the news to our staff. Immediately I could see it on the faces of our staff that the reality of the situation was really hitting home.
This is not going to be good for the restaurant industry. It’s not only us but every fast food restaurant and the service industry is taking a huge hit. There are small business loans we can take advantage of to keep us afloat for awhile, but my heart aches for all of our staff impacted by what is happening. I never thought I would see the days, weeks, maybe months of hardships that are to come.

A farmer: I'm ready for it. I've been saying this for years, and people laughed: I've got beef, chickens, a lot of guns and a lot of ammo.

Chuck Lambertz, city commissioner and therapist: I was asked to write a journal that is supposed to help serve as an avenue to share observations, thoughts and perspectives on the impact of COVID19 in our community and in our lives.  I hope it’s a relatively brief and generally positive commentary.  I suppose time will tell.
I don’t know that I would really call this day 1 since we’ve been reeling from drastic changes in our lives responding to COVID19 for right about a week now.  The kids are being homeschooled, so we’re trying our best to keep our students reading, working on math problems and finding fun science experiments like growing crystals and making volcanos. I even have a Lego set of dinosaur fossils we’ll utilize for history, biology, paleontology or any other newly minted courses being offered at our dining room table.  Our kids really miss their teachers and other school staff.  Our younger daughter smiled hearing the message her principal left via the school calling system checking in.  Every parent out there either already does or soon will have a much higher appreciation for all teachers and school staff do.  
I think our school administrators, staff and teachers have demonstrated the sort of response that best defines rural communities like ours; making the most of whatever we have.  They’re making sure kids are being fed and working to implement a continuous learning platform they never imagined putting together.  Maybe most of us just didn’t want to believe we would be in this situation someday.  
Our grocers are trying to keep their shelves stocked with what most of us are trying to buy; some people are buying far more than what they can use which is only making it harder for others to get what they need.  Our business owners are adapting as best as they can by offering delivery, curbside service, closing lobbies and limiting foot traffic, working remotely when and if at all possible and other such social distancing measures which we’re told are some of the best measures we can take to flatten the curve.
In addition to social distancing, we’re also implementing some of what really should just be common precautions;  people have made washing their hands a thing again, we’re reminded over and over to cover our cough/sneeze.  People are being encouraged to stay home when they’re not feeling well.  These are all good steps to take and I’m thankfully seeing some people who were originally skeptical this pandemic was even actually a thing actually advocating these practical steps.  
Honestly, I was a bit skeptical a few weeks ago as well.  I wondered how this was all that much worse than our regular flu cycle, which is not at all to diminish the toll the flu takes annually, but the flu is a monster we know and perhaps are all too familiar with.  We also have better tools to fight that particular illness. TO BE CONTINUED...

Please email your thoughts to russell@nckcn.com. In the Subject Line type "Journal Entry'
Or you may write down your thoughts and mail them to:
Blade-Empire
Journal Entry
510 Washington Street
Concordia, KS 66901
Please email photographs of you, your family and friends coping with the crisis. Humor is always appreciated.  Email the photos to russell@nckcn.com

 

Concordia Blade-Empire

510 Washington St.
Concordia, KS 66901