Hartselle proud, Hartselle strong
During this unprecedented time, I have seen the folks in our hometown really shine.
I have been so proud of our citizens, city employees and businesses during the past few weeks. From the beginning of this pandemic, folks have really stood up and loved on each other in the community.
Our school system offered meals to those who needed help when school was cancelled in March. When the school system could no longer do this because of health department regulations, our churches took over to make sure families received meals for their children.
Churches also stepped up and provided meals to many Hartselle residents, not just because they needed help but also to let them know someone cared for them. Our churches also purchased meals in honor and recognition of those on the front lines.
Several of our local businesses also offered free meals to those in need and to those serving on the front lines: police, fire, nursing homes and medical professionals.
Businesses worked in different situations to be able to serve their customers. Temporary drive-thru areas were added, and curbside delivery was first for many. Offering delivery to their customers’ doorsteps was a new step for many businesses, as well.
Now you might say the businesses just wanted to keep sales coming in, and if you have ever been in business, you know sales are a big necessity. But to so many of our businesses, the service to their customers is top priority.
Grocery stores worked long hours to fill empty shelves and went above and beyond the call of duty to fill the needs of their customers. Many business owners worked diligently to serve their customers in a time most of us have never experienced. They found a way to say “Yes, we are here for you.”
The school system donated hand sanitizer and foggers for the city’s use when schools closed and these items were not available.
I saw our churches seek ways to enable their congregations to worship together. Many churches used Facebook Live for the first time to help their worshipers stay in touch and continue church services. From pre-packaged communion elements to drive-thru and drive-up services, our church pastors and leaders proved what we already knew: the church is made up of people, not the building.
I am very proud of our citizens for supporting our local businesses during this time. Whether grocery stores or restaurants, folks spent their money here in Hartselle. I have heard mention of folks buying items from downtown merchants just because they wanted to help them out during this time.
I watched the residents of Hartselle came together as a community and pray for our city, community, state and nation. We are believers in our city, and we know from where our help comes. I truly believe all the prayers for a hedge of protection kept our first responders, police, fire, ambulance and other city employees safe and protected during this pandemic.
Our COVID-19 case numbers have remained low, and I am thankful to God for His protection. We live by faith, and He supplied our needs.
I am proud of our city employees, including our police, fire and sanitation workers who never missed a beat. Each department pulled together, shared resources and kept all city operations functioning, from “Stay at Home” to “Safer at Home,” and will continue to move forward to provide the services the citizens of Hartselle have come to expect and deserve.
The support from our citizens – whether by text, phone calls or social media – was phenomenal. I had so many people share that they were praying for me and all city employees.
I am thankful for the patience and understanding of the people in Hartselle; even when folks called with a problem, they were understanding of our situation, especially during the four weeks we operated with a reduced workforce. We received many compliments about how city employees helped them with their issues and got them taken care of.
I am thankful also for the understanding when facilities and programs were cancelled or closed. We had folks who were very understanding of the situation we are all in and how decisions were made to protect the safety and well-being of all Hartselle residents, as well as city employees. It has been difficult making those decisions to cancel spring sports, close the library and postpone the opening of the Aquatic Center. However, all decisions have been made according to the state health department guidelines for the well-being of our citizen and employees.
Hartselle is more than just a city of 14,000. We are friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and believers, and we only want the best for each other. We are willing to lend a hand, make a donation, help a neighbor in need and look out for one another.
We are Hartselle Strong!
Together we can, and we will, come out on the other side of this COVID-19 pandemic stronger than we have ever been.