Our view: The Routt County way
In the aftermath of a contentious presidential election, the country is divided.
We are thankful to live in a community where people come together to support one another and tackle big issues regardless of our differences.
A divisive presidential campaign that ended in an outcome that surprised many Americans has left citizens grappling with a breadth of emotions — some are still reeling, battling fear, uncertainty and doubts about America’s future and their place in it. Others are celebrating, hoping that the election of a political outsider signals change in Washington, which they believe will lead to more jobs, security and a stronger United States.
Sadly, the two weeks following the election have also been marred by ugly acts of intolerance. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there were more than 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation reported in the United States from Nov. 9 to 16. These incidents have only heightened fears across the country that Trump’s presidency has fanned the flames of bigotry and racism among those who interpret “making America great again” as making American white again.
There have been no incidents like these reported in Routt County, and for that, we are truly grateful.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, we want to shift our thoughts away from the election, away from rhetoric that divides us and remind local residents and those who are visiting Steamboat Springs this holiday week that no matter what may be percolating across the nation, we live in an inclusive community that values kindness, tolerance and compassion for others. We work and play in a place where people agree to disagree peaceably — a town that has found a way to honor its rich ranching roots while also embracing its status as a world-class ski resort.
It’s the Routt County way. We wave to each other on the streets, hug in grocery store aisles and graciously welcome newcomers to our fold. We love to get involved in local causes, and we support over 120 nonprofits with gifts of time and money. This generosity is on display each year during Yampa Valley Gives Day when local residents donate to their favorite nonprofits on a single day of giving. Over the past two years, the people of Routt County have given a whopping $870,000-plus to support the valuable work of local nonprofits.
We’re by no means a utopia, and when challenges arise, this community has a track record of rallying to overcome them. We may squabble about whether or not there should be paid parking downtown or where a new police station should be built, but when faced with serious issues, Routt County residents roll up their sleeves, join forces and find solutions.
Right now, there is a large citizens group working to address a shortage of affordable housing in Steamboat Springs and another committee that’s meeting to address the needs of a growing school district. Another group formed this year to deal with the growing problem of opioid abuse in our community — a national issue that has hit home with a rise in overdose deaths. The Rx Task Force is a coalition of parents, faith-based groups, doctors, treatment professionals and law enforcement personnel working together to save lives.
All three of these groups remind us that important issues can be tackled when individuals from differing backgrounds give of their time and talents to work together toward the common goal of making Steamboat Springs a better place to live for all people regardless of income, education levels or race. Again, this is the Routt County way.
Tomorrow on Thanksgiving Day, Steamboat will host an event that exemplifies these values. Over 800 people are expected to attend a Community Thanksgiving Dinner, which is hosted by Routt County United Way, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.
At this event, people of all ages and backgrounds take a seat at the table. It’s a true community gathering where ranchers, ski bums, retirees, young families and business leaders share a meal and give thanks. This dinner truly symbolizes the Routt County way, and we are thankful to call this beautiful, inspiring place our home.
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John Sena’s roots run deep in Routt County, so after spending a year and a half away on the Front Range because of health issues, the longtime Steamboat Springs resident was thrilled to get back…