Covid to Snovid – where will it end?

February 21, 2021Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

Many of you know I grew up in Ohio. Last week’s weather event was harsh even by my own boyhood standards.

Like many (if not most) of you, my family and I suffered the same challenges – no heat, no water and deep concern about what the aftermath would bring. And like the vast majority of Abilenians, I worried about those around me.

But it reminded me of those lessons I picked up as a kid: no one is immune; people suffer, together; and if we look around us hard enough we’re likely to find that others have it worse than you and me.

No matter how you slice it, we learned a lot. We loved a lot. And as a community, we helped. A lot. I’ll say this again: that love, concern and servitude doesn’t always exist in every community. Once again, I was proud to be a West Texan.

For your Chamber, we were literally shut down for the better part of a week. Our power was off, our water was gone, our servers were offline and our staff sheltered in-place while doing what they do best: taking care of our members the best we can. And your staff performed beautifully.

Not only did they check in on friends, family and each other, but they also sat in their cold homes and did all they could to care. To care for their families, their own catastrophic circumstances and most certainly our members.

The hardest part was the sinking feeling that we were fighting for our members with one hand tied behind our backs.

I was very pleased by how many of our members reached out during the crisis. We’re glad you remembered what we’re here for, and we’re thankful for being able to help.

Beyond our staff, I was also grateful for you, our member, and how you led from where you were, despite your own challenges. You sprang into action as you could, and you made that Abilene difference that defines our great community.

It’s been one hellish year for our country and our state, to be certain. Almost exactly one year ago this week, we became aware of Covid-19, one of the mightiest foes we could ever imagine. We’ve lost friends and family. We’ve been abundantly cautious about how we function not only for the sake of protecting ourselves and our families, but to ensure Abilenians continue to work and our economy remains open.

I’m not sure what more can be thrown at us, but I have no doubt we can handle it.

I want to thank the Chamber’s elected leadership and local government officials for their help and action in ensuring our community made it through all of the challenges of the last year. It has not been easy, and many showed what they’re made of. Most of all, I want to thank you, our member, for your tenacity and perseverance.

There’s much work to do and in true Abilene fashion, it’s getting done.

Here are a few things to think about:

  • Ensure you take care of you and yours to mitigate further pain and damage to your home and business.
  • Take a moment to thank those who’ve helped you or a neighbor through the last week.
  • Send an email to local leadership letting them know that their hard work did not go unnoticed.
  • Remember that people in positions of influence did all they could to help – even if it felt we were flying solo for awhile. We weren’t. The communication was everywhere. Well done, Abilene.

And, be sure to estimate your damage so the state and FEMA are aware of how bad our own challenges were, and so resources are made available to those who need them most. You can complete the form HERE. Please share it with everyone you know.  Our ability to recover financially depend on our assessment of damage done.

In closing, we’ve learned to prepare for the unknown and to expect the unexpected. In the coming weeks and months, the Chamber and its partners will roll out several programs to help you and your business prepare for future disasters and business disruptions, because even when we think we’re okay, it doesn’t take long to realize we’re not immune.

Your Chamber is here for you. And we’re deeply committed to doing all we can, despite the conditions, to help your business survive and thrive.









*Photo: IN-Focus Digital


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