Saturday, June 19, 2021
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Community, service & stronger together

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | May 19, 2021 1:00 AM

Community.

It's a powerful word, calling up images of belonging, togetherness and a sense of place; of giving, helping, doing, running toward the unknown when those around them stand still or look away.

This community did not blink or run away when a deadly pandemic swept across the globe. In these once-in-a-hundred-years-and-sitting-in-the-front-seat-of-history times, it responded.

And so, looking back – and looking toward the future, we owe those dedicated to community, to keeping this special part of the world just that — special and open to all believes, peoples, ideas and viewpoints — a debt of gratitude and thanks.

This special publication — Stronger Together — is dedicated to them:

• The doctors, nurses and staff at Bonner General Health, Newport Hospital and Health Services and Boundary Community Hospital gearing up to help those sick and needing care;

• Emergency crews, police officers and firefighters preparing for the possible call of a patient in distress from COVID-19, and stepping up patrols of businesses closed to prevent possible spread of the virus and the need to flatten the curve so local hospitals would not be overwhelmed.

• Volunteers from groups like Firewood Rescue, who saw a need and rallied together to make sure those hurt by the pandemic and the resultant economic turbulence that followed, were able to heat their homes.

• People like Bill Ouimet, who for the past 44 years has made the Kiwanis Club's Camp Stidwell a shining jewel on the shores of Mirror Lake. Dedicated to the community's youth, Ouimet loves providing a place where they can go and enjoy the outdoors and goes out of his way to see that folks enjoy their recreational time.

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, economic uncertainty and growing housing crisis, the community's groups and volunteers are what makes year the special spot it is, stronger together to create community.

Police and law enforcement officers responding for impromptu birthday parades during the height of the pandemic. Community and senior centers opening up, carefully, giving those most in need of community a safe spot to gather and renew friendships. Groups like the Sandpoint and Ponderay Rotary clubs lending both a helping hand but donations to groups dedicated to helping others.

In a word: Community.

Despite the chaos, despite the hardships and challenges, despite everything — we are still standing, still a community, proving we are #StrongerTogether.

Caroline Lobsinger is managing editor of the Bonner County Daily Bee and Bonners Ferry Herald.