Our View: Counting your blessings during COVID
Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, and even in the middle of a global pandemic, there are reasons to be grateful, especially in a community like Steamboat Springs.
To help establish that mindset, the Steamboat Pilot & Today Editorial Board compiled this gratitude list highlighting acts of generosity, volunteer efforts, community support and heroism that should make all of us feel a little more thankful this Thanksgiving.
• In October, Smartwool officially moved its headquarters to Denver and left Steamboat Springs a generous $1.5 million parting gift. The donation will be used to help replace the aging Barrows chairlift at Howelsen Hill Ski Area, and it’s a fitting tribute that symbolizes Smartwool’s contribution to the community over the past 26 years. The investment in one of Steamboat’s most iconic landmarks is a nod to the company’s outdoor brand, which will always be intertwined with the qualities that set Steamboat apart from other mountain communities. The gift, the company’s impact on the local economy over the past several decades and its pledge to continue supporting local events is definitely something worth celebrating this Thanksgiving. The company’s departure also gave Honey Stinger an opportunity to expand into Smartwool’s former headquarters at the airport at the same time partner company BAP moved to a new home base in the former Steamboat Springs Police Department. These moves signal continued growth for other homegrown outdoor retail companies that remain in town, which is good news for the Steamboat economy.
• The arrival of snow marked the end of the wildfire season in Routt County. Access to areas in the U.S. National Forest that were shut down due to this summer’s Middle Fork Fire in North Routt County reopened this week, and we are long overdue in thanking all the firefighters who worked hard under tough conditions to contain the fire, protecting property and people. The fire burned 20,157 acres, and at its height, there were more than 100 firefighters battling the blaze. Many came from outside the county to assist Forest Service fire crews, and we thank them for their heroic service to our community.
At issue: Thanksgiving is the time of year when people traditionally take stock of the things they’re thankful for.
Our View: Even in a year when we’re grappling with a pandemic, there are reasons to be grateful.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Kevin Fisher, community representative
• George Danellis, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
• With a third wave of COVID-19 rocking the county and triggering stricter public health protocols, we know businesses, and particularly restaurants, have been extremely hard hit. Our local restaurants, which showed resiliency and creativity this summer, are faced with a return to a takeout-only model that we know is not financially sustainable long term. It’s been heartening to see so many people step up with initiatives to support local restaurants through coordinated ordering efforts and a new Local Love campaign that invites individuals to donate restaurant gift cards to LiftUp of Routt County to be distributed to people in need. It also is inspiring to see businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic stepping up to help community members during their time of need. For example, Snow Bowl, which played such a critical role in providing free family meals this spring and has since been forced to shut down, is contributing to this year’s drive-through Community Thanksgiving Dinner effort that will provide 500 holiday meals to local families on Thursday.
• COVID is also impacting individuals and families across the Yampa Valley, creating feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear about the future during a time of year that is traditionally hard on people suffering from issues such as depression and substance abuse. With those issues in mind, we are grateful that Routt County is home to a large number of nonprofits that exist to serve people in need whether that involves mental health support, food or rental assistance or a creative escape. It should be noted that nonprofits also have been hit hard by the pandemic and have not been able to host fundraisers, which provide much of the financial support they need to continue serving the community. With that in mind, we suggest supporting your favorite local nonprofit on Yampa Valley Gives Day, which is Tuesday, Dec. 8. You can donate on that day or schedule your donation now. It’s a great way to support nonprofits and show your appreciation for all the great work they do throughout the year.
• We live in a beautiful part of the country where outdoor space is plentiful and open to public use. This type of access helps keep us sane, and it’s something we should never take for granted.
• And finally, we honor our frontline workers who have worked so hard during an extremely difficult time. This group includes those keeping the grocery store shelves stocked, those taking care of our most vulnerable residents in local nursing homes and our health care workers and public health personnel who put their own lives at risk to fight this pandemic. You are heroes to us and deserve a huge, heartfelt “thank you.”
We remain encouraged and inspired by the generous spirit of this community, and during this holiday season, we hope people will take time to check in with one another via a text, Zoom call or handwritten note. It’s those simple gestures of loving kindness that sustain us and make us grateful to live in a place where people care about one another and come to each other’s aid during trying times.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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