By Bruce Dammeier, Pierce County Executive.
We’ve lost so much this year. Our young people have lost their schools, we’ve lost live music and sporting events, and for now we’ve even lost the ability to enjoy a meal in a restaurant.
Worse than that, of course, are the lives lost. Whether from COVID, a fire, a car accident or simply the natural end of a long, well-lived life, there are big holes in the fabric of our community, and we grieve every single person who has left us.
So, what’s there to be thankful for at Thanksgiving this year? In a word, plenty!
While so much has been taken away from us, I’m also mindful of a few things we’ve gained. At the top of that list is a greater appreciation of what it means to connect with our loved ones. Can you imagine how happy we will be to embrace our friends, again, or comfort a loved one without a mask or plastic shield? It turns out the simple pleasures aren’t really that simple, are they?
We’ve also gained an even greater appreciation for our healthcare heroes. They are on the front lines every day, risking their lives for you and me. I’m grateful for their expert care and remarkable sacrifice. This year shone a spectacular light on their life’s work.
I think the impact of quarantining at home has given many of us more shared meals around the kitchen table, and a resourcefulness that forced us to find joy and entertainment in different ways. Sales of board games have soared. Lauren and I are “Christmas puzzlers” – and they are in short supply, too! I hope that means more opportunities for families or “pandemic pods” to share a laugh or two.
One bright side of the masking, hand washing and social distancing is that the “regular” flu we expect to hit at this time of year is occurring in fewer people. It appears to be an upside of our new hygiene protocols. That’s a reason to be thankful!
One of the things at the top of my things for which I am thankful is you! You and your County colleagues have impressed, inspired and humbled me over and over as you have adapted, shifted and created new and better ways to serve our residents during the pandemic.
I know it’s been a challenging year. I don’t think any of us would have anticipated that nine months later we would still be in a battle with COVID. But you remain undaunted and determined to take care of those who call Pierce County home. Thank you!
Although I’ve posted this video before, I want to be sure to share it with those who may not have had the opportunity to enjoy it. It’s something of a “thank you” note to you – for not missing a beat in making sure we are serving our residents to the best of your ability. Despite having turned our kitchen tables to student desks, and our homes to office workspaces or call centers, your perseverance and determination have made all the difference.
I hope you have a few moments this week to reflect on the moments of learning, challenge and fulfillment that we’ve experienced over the last several months. I wouldn’t want to ever repeat 2020 but I’m thankful we went through it together.
Take care and stay safe – and Happy Thanksgiving!
First published on the Pierce County website.