How the Yampa Valley finds the #silverlining in the time of COVID-19

We invite people to send examples of the “silver linings” they’re experiencing during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Please share your stories of random acts of kindness, of people paying it forward, of neighbors helping neighbors, or simply, what made you smile or lifted your spirits today.

To share, tag Instagram posts with #SteamboatSnaps and #silverlinings or email for a chance to see them in print and online.

This story will be updated as we receive additional silver linings.

Family time

Gray Kohlhase/courtesy

Geese and goslings at Casey’s Pond.

Submitted by Gray Kohlhase

Crane flyover

David T. Moulton/courtesy

Recently, Tresa and I were birding west of Hayden, when we saw this pair of greater Sandhill cranes flying very low and almost right towards us.  They circled around us, almost as if to say hi to a pair of known craniacs before flying off to the east.

Stay safe and keep enjoying the wonders of nature.

Submitted by David T. Moulton.

Pickup day

Hayden Middle School students made people smile as they did a virtual Earth Day trash pickup in April.  After watching a short video on the origins of Earth Day and students in California that, like students in Steamboat Springs, had organized a plastic bag ban in their community, Hayden students hit the streets to pick up trash. It was a huge success. The thing that surprised them the most was the positive response from the people in the community.

Submitted by Robin Bush.

After the storm

Jeff Hall/courtesy

A rainbow appears over Steamboat Golf Club after a storm.

Submitted by Jeff Hall

Mother’s Day surprise


An artist, named Dave, worked for two hours on this drawing at the foot of the back patio walkway at Casey’s Pond Senior Living. His dog laid by his side as he worked, and Dave entertained many people who watched from their windows as his art progress throughout the afternoon. All appreciated his giant Mother’s Day card and also his kindness in sharing his talent. Thank you, masked artist. Come see us again someday. 

Submitted by Tara Stroman

Social distancing

Valerie Coggia/courtesy

Everybody in Steamboat needs to do their part!

Submitted by Valerie Coggia

Helping the ‘elderlies’

We wanted to report some silver linings we have been experiencing the past two-plus months. We are the only officially “elderlies” in our Blue Sage Drive neighborhood in Steamboat Springs. We are blessed with some wonderful neighbors, especially three young couples who call and offer to get us groceries, pick up things for us at Walmart or at the pharmacy when they are heading out on errands.  It has been wonderful! So, thanks and hugs. to A and A, B. J. and B. Br.  You know who you are, and we love you for it!

Submitted by Pat and Scott Thomas

Keeping it fun

Jennifer Gibson/courtesy

Today a huge smile was put on my face by Soda Creek Elementary School’s physical education coach Erin Early.   To keep the children engaged and active at home, she dressed up like a Power Ranger and had them do an X Games-style workout.  I would like to say how much we appreciate the continued hard work and creative ways teachers and staff are keeping our children engaged and happy. 

Submitted by the Gibson family 

Springtime in the valley

Anne Lauinger/courtesy

Springtime is here. Beautiful glacier lilies in Steamboat Springs.

Submitted by Anne Lauinger.

Drive-in service

This past Sunday, Concordia Lutheran Church had a drive-in church service at 9 a.m. We connected ahead of time with the Steamboat Springs Police Department to make sure we are in compliance, and we are. Everyone parked in our parking lot and stayed in their cars while the pastor was in front of the church conducting the service.  We had a worship team inside the church (at least 6 feet apart from each other) singing and playing the piano. We set up speakers outside, so that everyone could hear the music and worship along in their cars. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful service. We will continue to hold drive in services through May (unless otherwise told not to by the government.)

Submitted by Shannon Smith

6 Feet Apart Zoo


An awesome 14 year old named Sophie has started her “6 Feet Apart Zoo” to bring a smile to our community. Sophie designs each animal on plywood and then cuts them out with a jigsaw. She brings them to life with her amazing artistic abilities. She adds a new one every other day. It brings a smile to my face every time I go down Crawford Avenue. Can’t wait to see what she adds next.

Submitted by Craig Keefe

Home project

Bob Enever/courtesy

A stay-at-home project for Audrey Enever.

Submitted by Bob Enever

Renee Ellis/courtesy

The town of Oak Creek hung a banner honoring our Soroco High School seniors. The project was funded by Soroco Booster Club and private donations.

Submitted by Renee Ellis

Light and smiles

Lizzy Pendleton

I just wanted to spread some light and smiles during this tough time. A group of anonymous donors donated money to the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue. People were so generous and donated over $900. We bought gift cards to local restaurants to support our restaurants, then we brought the gift cards to our first responders. Kids drew pictures for them, as well.

Submitted by Lizzy Pendleton

Heidi Breidert/courtesy

One Routt County ranching family is challenging other families to support Steamboat Springs businesses. They’ve purchased 100 gift cards from the Steamboat Springs Chamber for $25 each. The family wishes to remain anonymous.

“We just thought it was so important that the money we spend stays in Steamboat and supports the local businesses and gets into the hands of people who really need it,” said the family.

The gift cards will be distributed randomly throughout the community. This Steamboat family is challenging other families who are in a position to do so, to also purchase and distribute gift cards from the Steamboat Chamber to support residents and businesses in the Steamboat community.

Submitted by Shannon Lukens

Sharing coloring pages


How do I Thank Jill Bergman for her very cool! Coloring  Page ,”Night Garden”. I cut it out and sent it to my 16 yr old granddaughter. She loved it and spent some relaxing time with your inspirational creation. What a fun way to connect ❤️And share.

Submitted by Ginny Winn

Creative 90th Birthday Wishes


Betty Sweetland is 90 years young today. Social distancing doesn’t allow for a big party, but she knows she is special! Betty has been spending the last few weeks making and giving away masks. Along with her daughter, Judy, they are making gowns for Casey’s Pond. She is a go getter. Ninety and going strong.

Submitted by Cindy Meade


Submitted by Karen Vail

Stay grateful

Kate Nowak/courtesy

Grateful to 25 mask makers, Big Agnes, BAP, 4-H among others that have donated handmade masks to Routt County United Way for countywide distribution!

Submitted by Kate Nowak

A special thanks

Submitted by Dave Estey
Submitted by Dave Estey

Submitted by Dave Estey

Uplifting our first responders


6th, 7th and 8th graders from Steamboat Springs Middle School created and shared these works of art with 1st responders in our community. The Police Chief commented how uplifting it is to have our youth thinking of us. We live in an awesome place – Steamboat❤️!

Submitted by City of Steamboat Springs

Prepared cowboys


Here are the cowboy statues on Steamboat Blvd. Their neck bandanas have become masks!

Carol Markowitz

Thanks to the students

April Sigman/courtesy

Middle school art teacher Susanmarie Oddo had students create art and notes to share with seniors who receive Meals on Wheels.  I received a wonderful Thank You call this afternoon from a women who got one of those cards and said the image of a butterfly made her day!  Thank you Susanmarie and your talented students!  #SilverLinings

Submitted by April Sigman

Lending a hand

I have had a cleaning business in Steamboat for many years.  I’ve always known that I work for some wonderful people but they have taken me by surprise.  Many continue to pay me even though I can not work. I am so fortunate to have these people in my life!!

Anne Reed

Spread the love

Betsy Taylor/courtesy

A little love note!

Submitted by Betsy Taylor

Face masks required

Eugenen Buchanan/courtesy

The free dog sticks dinosaurs are now COVID-19 ready with their face masks. The sticks are a landmark along the Yampa River Core Trail.

Submitted by Eugene Buchanan.

Wonderful employers

I have had a cleaning business in Steamboat for many years.  I’ve always known that I work for some wonderful people but they have taken me by surprise.  Many continue to pay me even though I can not work. I am so fortunate to have these people in my life!!

Anne Reed

Thank you neighbors

I moved to Steamboat from the front range in June and have been overwhelmed by the friendliness, generosity and kindness that I have witnessed daily in this community. I started experiencing several virus symptoms about 3 weeks ago and my neighbors have been so caring every day of self isolating. They checked up on me daily, brought me groceries and have left meals, goodies and the Steamboat Pilot. I am so grateful for all of this kindness and for being part of this caring community. Thank you!!

Angela Graham

Groceries paid for

Thanks to that wonderful lady who paid for my groceries.

Doing self checkout at Safeway I realized I didn’t have my wallet and know I looked bewildered. The lady next to me asked if she could help and then she said, “I’ll pay if you make a donation to LiftUp.”

I was shocked but said OK. I regretfully forgot to ask her name to be able to thanks her later formally but I hope she sees this and knows how much I appreciated her kindness.

I went home and my wife more than doubled the bill in a donation. Thanks wonderful Steamboat neighbor.

Jacque Harvey

Stability in school

I have an experience with a local school here in Steamboat that has provided an immense silver lining for our family, and the additional 110 (don’t know the number here) families who attend the Steamboat Montessori school.

As a parent of a 3rd grader at the Steamboat Montessori School, I have been incredibly impressed with their immediate call to action to get our children up and running in an online learning environment. By Friday the 13th, we were sent a remote learning plan which included a schedule, a google hangout morning meeting with all members of the classroom, and expectations of their subjects to include assignments. As well as comprehensive instructions and separate meetings for parents who need tech support. 

Since then, my son has had a detailed schedule and daily meeting which has not only helped keep his spirits high and calm — but it has also allowed our family to create our own schedule around his. This has been an anchor of stability for us.

His teacher starts out the meetings with a highs and lows of their day and breathing exercises. They show their art work and continue to learn Spanish and P.E. Exercises. They are encouraged to reach out to their friends with google hangouts and the best part — (taken from a mother who happened to be in a position of homeschooling my son all last school year) Is that the teacher is the enforcer of assignments — not a parents — which can start to erode relationships. 

I am so grateful for their prompt attention to helping families, and the Montessori community.

Thanks for keeping it positive in a time where it can be tough to find the silver lining. <3

Heather Martyn

Found cellphone

Thank you, Anica.  It was my cellphone that you found and placed on the “lost and found gate” at the bottom of Spring Creek! My husband was skiing and apparently dropped it where he had lunch 2 miles up Spring Creek just before the snow began on Thursday morning. Someone found it and left it at the bottom where it might then be found by the rightful owner. You dialed a contact number, who happened to lived a block away and delivered the phone to her. But I’m not surprised, because we live Steamboat in a community who cares about one another. 

Gigi Walker

‘Nothing Like a Big Surprise’

Local songwriter Jim Spillane wrote this song, entitled “Nothing Like a Big Surprise,” to focus on big unexpected, life-changing experiences in general. It occurred to him that it applied really well to this whole coronavirus thing. His musical partner, Brad Thrower, then just created a video that specifically ties to our current situation.

Submitted by Celia Dunham

Spirit tree

The people on Uncochief Circle in Steamboat Springs have been lighting up this tree for the last several days to give us all hope through these trying times.
Submitted by Larry Schnackenberg

Submitted by Larry Schnackenberg

Get well message

Sandra Schwindy/courtesy

Concerned and caring friends brought flowers and a card for my dog who is recovering from injuries from an attack on March 23. We will pay it forward.   

Thanks Rex and Darla

Submitted by Sandra Schwindy

Mask donation

Pictured from left are Aislynn Dale, Seth Dale, Breann Dale and Brayden Dale.
Courtesy photo

Local business owners Seth and Breann Dale of Columbine Insulation are stepping up and donating large amounts of the much needed N95 masks to the local community. A feel good story during a time of depressing news. They dropped a box off at my house as well. My daughter and I both have asthma and are considered high risk. Additionally, I was able to distribute masks to family members across the U.S. who were unable to get a mask.

The Dales recently took over the full operations of Columbine Insulation after Breann Dale’s father suddenly passed away in December. His name was Jerry Wooldridge, a respected member in the local construction community. His planning ahead before his passing created an opportunity for his daughter and son-in-law to make these generous donations in a time of need. The mask’s were donated to the Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Mountain Station and will be distributed according to need.

Submitted by Travis Mathey, Steamboat Springs

Positive message from my grandchildren

 I live in senior housing, and I am practicing social distancing from my family. A very hard thing to do. But my grandchildren wanted to “bring a little sunshine” to the whole community and as you can see, they made bracelets for everyone and little cards of encouragement to hang in there, wash your hands, smile. This thoughtfulness at this time is really needed, and I am grateful that the children get it. I am so proud of the kids. Everyone needs a hug, even virtually.

Beth Loadman

Homeschool project

Just a photo of the “homeschool art class” with my kids….they wanted to join the world of hearts campaign and radiate some love and light in our little mountain town. 

Jenny Magill-Strilzuk

A good sign

Lindsey Reznicek/courtesy

This sign was on a light pole near the Medical Office Building as you drive back to the emergency department at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.  

Lindsey Reznicek, communications specialist with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center

Silver Lining

Ethan Summers
Courtesy photo

My Silver lining is that times like this bring families and communities together, even if we are all apart. I get to play with my brother Jack, and have been getting to know my little sister Edie better. My Dad is working from home, and now he is home and making us all breakfast. Times like this can help you grow as a person, think of new ideas, and get some rest. I have been using this time to read all the books in my room I haven’t read yet. I’ve also been getting fresh air, and am excited to play the game Clue with my parents. 

By Ethan Summers, third-grader at Soda Creek Elementary School in Steamboat Springs

Garden of hope: A community challenge

Do you love the vibrancy of our Routt County summers? Do you have a piece of cardboard, paper or canvas going spare in your house, and a window you can see from your driveway or road? 

Even if you feel like you don’t have a creative bone in your body, you can do this.

Let’s share a message of support and brightness to each other while we are at home. Grab a crayon, paint, fabric, scrap paper or whatever you feel like and make your own depiction of a garden. It can be one flower or tree, to a whole mass of them. Homeschoolers, go wild. 

Place your creation in a visible window and bring a smile to our support workers as they drive to work, your neighbor when they look out the window, nip to the store or walk the dog. If no one but you sees the window, you’ll be reminded we are a community in this together. 

Let’s plant our own garden of hope. Feel free to share the images and we can spread the love. 

Suzi Mitchell, Steamboat Springs

Springtime cheer

I am a resident of Selbe senior housing. I received at my door two days ago a kind gesture from a local mom and her daughter. It was a mason jar full of beautiful flowers and a note. It was a gift of kindness, love, and hope.

Paula Loveland

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