Letter to the editor: It's been a year

Beth Bailey
Barnesville Enterprise

It’s been a year, to say the very least. As I look back, I have been considering what we have and what we’ve lost. And we lost a lot in 2020, but the thing is, we gained a lot, too. When our ability to connect in real life was taken from us, we gained perspective and understanding of what matters the most. The pandemic altered how we engage with one another and we used the tools we have – compassion, creativity, technology - to continue the important work we do for people with disabilities.

Social distance meant we had to be intentional about maintaining relationships. We became a virtual presence in one another’s lives as homes became workplaces and our team used technology to connect with the people and families we support. We took a trauma-informed approach and learned all over again just how valuable that way of being is.

We were creative, too. We masked-up for front porch visits at an appropriate distance or made phone calls from driveways to connect with people. We prepared grocery bags full of food and delivered them to the doors of those in need. We organized car caravans to drive by homes, letting those inside know we care. We providing PPE and significant financial assistance to our provider partners. We were intentional in reaching out to one another to ask if everything was okay.

Despite the pandemic, we continued work that will improve the lives of the people we support. We streamlined processes and paperwork, and worked with our provider partners to locate and create meaningful and safe opportunities for people.

If you believe that our true nature is revealed in bad times, then the good in 2020 was found in what it exposed -- our compassion, our resilience, our love for one another. It will be hard to forget the challenges we’ve faced this year, and some experienced tremendous loss, for which we are deeply sorry.

This year. This incredibly challenging year strengthened the bonds we have with each other and the people and families we support. And it reminded us that the things that matter the most aren’t things.

Stephen Williams is Superintendent of the Belmont, Harrison, and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, serving over 900 children and adults across the three southeastern Ohio counties.

Stephen L. Williams

Superintendent of Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities