Editorial Cartoon

Our communities and the world around us have been undergoing a few drastic changes of late, thanks to a virus that none of us really knew anything about not so long ago.

It is during uncertain times like these that we realize how important it is that we have real leaders among us.

We are thankful for people like Gov. Andy Beshear, who day in and out, has been transparent about the challenges we face by hosting live press conferences and reiterating, over and over, that “We will get through this.”

We are thankful for people like Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton, who offered his own live broadcasts over the weekend and pledged to volunteer alongside his family for any city resident in need of food or medicine, and Judge-Executive Robbie Williams, who declared a local state of emergency to free up resources needed to help combat the virus.

We are thankful for the leaders and staff at the county school district who coordinated not only the instruction students need during their time off of school, but also hosted drive-through food pick-ups for those students and boarded buses to take educational resources and snacks to students in the county in need.

We are thankful for the Floyd County Health Department, Floyd County Emergency Management and all local leaders, including those from our healthcare facilities, who have been meeting regularly during this crisis to determine the best course of action that is best for all of us.

It is surreal, this place we find ourselves in at this moment, but our path is easier because of people like these.

For that, we say thank you.

And in that effort, we must also thank the droves of other people who are coming together in different ways to help our communities through this.

That list of local heroes include the volunteers at Ridgepoint Church, who are offering a food delivery service for the elderly and people who are ill or in need of delivery.

It also includes all Prestonsburg Merchants — and all Floyd County restaurants — that are now changing the way they operate so that we can all be safer.

It also includes local utilities like Big Sandy RECC and AEP Kentucky Power, which announced delays in disconnects for people impacted by this virus, and, our medical professionals, emergency medical technicians, first responders and police officers who — despite the danger of contracting this virus — are still out there on our roads, answering those calls.

Gov. Beshear has repeatedly told us to expect a disruption in our lives because of this virus, and we see that happening now.

Could you imagine what it’d be like without all of these people, all of these local heroes?

We encourage all of our readers to find a way to step up and help others during this time of uncertainty. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Something small could make a world of difference to someone else.

As Gov. Beshear has pointed out repeatedly, we need to be good neighbors, and that means following the guidance issued for social distancing and no panicking. We do not need to be buying more than we need because doing that could keep others from getting what they need.

The Prestonsburg Merchants gave us all a perfect example of what being neighborly means on Monday, when those businesses pledged to offer to read a story for children live every night at 8 p.m. on the Shop Prestonsburg Facebook page. This service is no where in line with what those businesses offer the public every day, but in that service, they will give our children a reason to smile and time to think about something else other than COVID-19.

In an interview Monday, Stapleton pointed out how Eastern Kentuckians always work to help each other through times of crisis, and he is absolutely right about that. We’ve seen it time and again.

Therein lies the hope that will help all of us make it through.

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