On March 27th 2020, we were ordered by our government to stay home in order to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus! It’s May 10th and the order still stands. That stay at home order has changed many lives, including mine.

During this pandemic, I have discovered many things about our society, about my friends and family, and about my small town I live in and myself. In the midst of terrible things going on around us, many positive things are happening. I would like to share a few of them that have happened to me.

Working at the radio station I get to see first-hand how important small businesses are to the community. I live in Madison and some of the small business owners are my friends. I know them well, I know the details of their business and what it takes to be successful. All of them are hard workers and love what they do. To see what this shut down has done to them and their business is absolutely heartbreaking. Some have absolutely no revenue coming in, but they still have bills to pay.

So what good has come out of this? I see the community coming together to support these small businesses, many things are being done to help them. I have seen people purchase gift cards, meals, donate their time and money and come up with creative ideas to generate some revenue for them. I’ve heard of people paying a business’s utility bill for the month. It makes me happy when I hear things like that. What I’ve learned from this is to buy from your small town businesses! Even after this is over, make it a priority to purchase your goods and services from your communities’ small businesses. Don’t make excuses, the small business owners will work with you. If they don’t have what you want, they will do everything to get it for you. It’s a win for everyone when you purchase locally.

My wife Roxie works with preschool kids at MMN Elementary. It was Teachers Appreciation Week, and it warmed my heart to see gifts on our doorstep during the week from the kids and parents thanking her. She has worked at school for 30 years and this has been really hard on her not to be able to see the kids on a daily basis. Hats off to all teachers, parents and kids for what they are doing during this pandemic.

Roxie has worked with children at school for over 30 years.

Every Sunday I go to church at Calvary Baptist Church in Madison. My routine on a Sunday morning usually consisted of leading Adult Sunday school at 9am, then worship service at 10:30. Well that hasn’t happened since March. Now we have online services and Zoom church board meetings. It’s really different. I appreciate that we have the technology to do that. I miss getting together with my church family.

Calvary Baptist Church Madison

What has been really difficult for Roxie and me is not being able to hug and hold our grandchildren. A few weeks ago Adelyn, Gretta, and Eli were in our driveway to drop off homemade cards they made for us! We stayed at a distance and waved at them. Roxie cried. Zane mailed us a big paper hug and we did FaceTime with Broc and Callie. When this pandemic is over I will hug the heck out of my grandchildren and hold them. I enjoy spending time with them and being a grandpa.

Zane’s paper hug

Well, good things can come out of a bad situation. Like Mr. Rogers said when bad things happen, look for the helpers. One thing to remember is that this pandemic will pass and I believe we all will be better people.

Tony Ourada - State Farm ad

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