The past six weeks have been rough. School buildings shut down and will not reopen this spring. Amid the ongoing pandemic and restrictions, many businesses have been forced to temporarily close and …
The past six weeks have been rough. School buildings shut down and will not reopen this spring. Amid the ongoing pandemic and restrictions, many businesses have been forced to temporarily close and to make difficult decisions, including laying off employees or cutting pay. Oil prices plunged into negative territory, leaving many locals worried about an uncertain future. Farmers face cuts to contracts and other difficulties on the heels of hardships last year.
As we see grim headlines while quarantined in our homes, it’s easy to become discouraged. Many of us miss family members, friends, coworkers, teachers and the way life used to be, not so long ago.
Still, there are reasons to be thankful and see glimmers of hope — or “Some Good News,” as actor John Krasinski highlights in the show he recently launched.
In Powell, you don’t have to look far for good news. We’re highlighting just a few positive stories unfolding in our community, but we know there are many others — far more than can be listed in this space.
• To ensure the Class of 2020 feels encouraged during these difficult days, hundreds of residents have stepped forward to “adopt a senior.” A couple of local parents recently started the Adopt a 2020 Powell Senior group on Facebook, where families can post a picture of their graduating senior, along with some details about the teen. Then it’s up to “adoptive parents” to encourage and support the senior with cards, presents, flowers, food, gift certificates — basically anything to brighten their day. Since the group was created on April 17, it has grown to more than 800 members. Meanwhile, businesses, parents and community members responded in a big way to sponsor light pole banners depicting each Powell senior who provided a portrait for the project, covering the cost of the banners in less than two weeks. While the Class of 2020 can’t have a traditional graduation this spring, this community is going above and beyond to celebrate graduates’ accomplishments.
• Dedicated volunteers in local communities have stepped up to create thousands of masks. The masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are being donated to hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizen centers, jails, first responders and others in need throughout the Big Horn Basin. While medical facilities remain the top priority, “we’re sewing for our families and neighbors and friends of friends that are in vulnerable places as well,” said Marla Isbell, who is helping coordinate the effort in Park County.
• A fireworks show fitting of the Fourth of July filled the April sky, literally bringing light to these dark times. From the safety of their vehicles, scores of residents enjoyed Friday night’s show, sponsored by Pyrotech Professionals and Western Pyro Enterprises. Described as “a social distancing explosion of fun,” the show allowed residents of all ages to enjoy a night out in a safe way. It’s encouraging to see businesses, churches and nonprofits continue to find creative ways for the community to come together in a safe way.
• Spearheaded by the group Love Thy Neighbor — Powell, hundreds of meals have been delivered to local residents in need. Thanks to a lot of hard work, dedication and generosity, the free meals have continued for weeks and local residents also have received specific groceries and other items they need. In addition, the Powell Senior Citizens Center continues to provide meals for older residents while Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes carries on its mission to provide food for those in need. Churches, businesses and other groups also have stepped up to help in a variety of ways.
• Parades are no longer limited to Fourth of July festivities, the Park County Fair and Homecoming. Impromptu parades have popped up in neighborhoods for birthday celebrations, and dragging Main has returned as a popular activity each Saturday night in Powell. On Sunday afternoon, a massive parade in Cody celebrated Silas Johnson’s Make-A-Wish, with hundreds of vehicles driving by the 10-year-old’s home. Powell Valley Care Center and The Heartland Assisted Living are inviting community members to parade past the facilities on Wednesday beginning at 2 p.m. With the forecast calling for warm weather, residents will be outside to wave at passersby and see loved ones, even if from afar. “We are hoping this will show the residents that they are not forgotten in a time like this,” said Sara Green, activities coordinator.
The difficulties we face during the COVID-19 pandemic are real, and we don’t want to diminish the hardships and pain people are experiencing. But amid coronavirus concerns and economic hardships, we continue to see this community at its best, and that is something to celebrate.