I think it’s safe to say that the last two weeks have been mentally, physically and emotionally draining for all Clay Countians.  

We’ve battled an ice storm, power outages, flash flooding and no water service at our homes.

I don’t know about you all, but I had high hopes for 2021 following what we thought was one of the worst years in our lives in 2020.  Three months in, 2021 is on pace to be even worse!

Next week mark’s one year since our lives changed.   The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed our nation 12 months ago and changed everything about how we live our lives.

All public events were canceled.  We were basically forced to stay at home, and we’ve all went a little stir crazy since then.

I do want to recognize one positive thing that’s come from all this—the heart of our community.

In our time of need people throughout this county have stepped up and volunteered their time, money and efforts to help their neighbors.

Over the last two weeks especially our community has come together to help those in need.

People can say what they want about Clay County and we have more than our fair share of problems, but we also have a community that cares about one another.

In our time of need the community as a whole has reached out to fill the void and help those less fortunate while expecting nothing in return.

That makes me extremely proud to say I’m from Clay County and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done.

I’d also like to take this time to recognize our volunteer fire departments.  Through the ice storm and flooding these men and women have been on the front line helping those in need.

On Christmas Eve these same men and women were out helping stranded motorists as a massive snowstorm hit our county.  During the ice storm these same folks were out helping those without power and clearing trees from our roads.

During the flooding they were on the frontline wading through water to help rescue people.  They risked their own lives to save others—all the while receiving not one penny for their efforts.

I feel like many people lose sight of that fact.  Our volunteers are exactly what the word means-volunteers.  They do not get paid.  More often than not, they spend their own hard-earned money to help others.  They take time away from their jobs and their families to sacrifice themselves for us.

As a community we need to show much appreciation to these volunteers.  These people are our true hero’s.  Many of us get paid for the services we perform.  These people do not and in my opinion that makes them the true heroes of our county.

They are the epitome of what sacrifice means and we should also thank their families for supporting them while they perform these tasks.

While they’re helping others, their families are home fending for themselves.  They’re sacrificing also for the betterment of our community.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, our volunteers and the families of our volunteers as you all pay the ultimate sacrifice and receive only one thing in return—the satisfaction of knowing your efforts are needed and truly are appreciated.  Thank you!

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