In September 2013, as floodwaters ravaged communities along the Front Range, the people of Colorado responded by volunteering, donating money and helping rebuild roads, other infrastructure, businesses and homes.
Individuals who were displaced by floodwaters were invited into people’s homes. Businesses assisted individuals and even their own competitors.
It ranks as one of this region’s finest hours.
Colorado, including the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado, has endured many such trials: the economic uncertainty and fear after 9-11, the Great Recession of a decade ago, wildfires and many more challenges in years prior.
Through it all, the goodness of the people of this region shined through.
That’s no less true during the current global pandemic, as a novel coronavirus roars through cities and towns worldwide.
Who could have imagined that communities from Boulder to Greeley, Broomfield to Fort Collins, Denver to Grand Junction would be under shelter-in-place orders, not for hours or days, but for weeks and potentially months?
Who could have imagined that gatherings large and small would be banned for an indefinite period, or that air travel would be drastically curtailed?
While examples exist of individuals seeking to take advantage of the crisis — hoarding, price gouging, failure to embrace “social distancing” — far more examples exist of individuals coming together, not physically, but in a sense of help and camaraderie.
Goodness shines through on the neighborhood networking app Next Door, where individuals make it known that they stand ready to help their elderly or at-risk neighbors, whether it be picking up groceries or prescriptions, or some other task.
Goodness is evident in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, refusing to lose the opportunity to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by performing Ode to Joy in an online performance, with members performing individually in their own homes.
Distilleries have shifted production to produce hand sanitizer. Others are ramping up production of face shields for health-care workers. Companies in all industries are donating products to hospitals and nonprofits. Media outlets, including BizWest, have taken down their paywalls for coronavirus coverage. Grocery stores are creating special hours for the elderly and others at risk, to reduce their potential to contract the virus.
While uncertainty prevails about the duration of the pandemic, and how much our health-care system will be overwhelmed, it’s clear that individuals of good will are what will get us through to the other side.
It’s perhaps the greatest irony of all: A global pandemic that will be controlled by social distancing is bringing us all closer together.