2020 has managed to throw yet another curveball our way.
The damage the derecho left was far and wide. No one was exempt from its impact, we saw tangled power lines, hundred-year old trees spilt in two, and lived in darkness for a period of time. But in my observation, that wasn’t where the impact ended.
Shortly after the storm cleared up, hundreds of people poured into the streets to help. Some moved trees that were blocking roads or helped neighbors remove debris from yards. Others delivered water to those working outside and opened their homes to those who had to wait the longest for power to return. Generators were shared and folks quickly found a silver lining in the opportunity to more clearly see the Neowise comet without typical light pollution. This is exactly what it means to be #StoryCountyStrong.
This kind of unity and perseverance is one of the many reasons I’ve always been proud to call Ames and Story County my home. We saw this earlier in the year when COVID-19 first hit our community. Instead of bemoaning the challenges, we saw businesses quickly implement innovative solutions to continue operation in new ways, like renting out their fitness equipment and creating personalized style boxes. Neighbors checked in on each other to ensure everyone’s needs were met. Families went on bear hunts throughout the community. We banded together and eagerly poured over $100,000 into local businesses through the Buy-In Story County gift card program. And later, we welcomed students back with open arms with gentle reminders of our community’s new expectations and changes.
Now, in the midst of a historic storm, we continue to push forward. I want to give special thanks to the City of Ames and their Electric Services department, along with other critical providers like Alliant Energy, Midland Power Cooperative, Consumers Energy, and ITC, that serve our communities every day. In addition to them, thanks to the electric providers throughout the state of Iowa that mobilized and came to support our incumbent providers in getting the lights back on, and the Department of Transportation for their help in clearing roadways of trees and debris.
As we move into the fall, I challenge you to keep going. Continue to set an example of working for the greater good. We are in this together and together we are #StoryCountyStrong.