In just a few months, the coronavirus has challenged our communities, nation and world in unprecedented ways. Both a public health and financial crisis, it seems that the impacts of COVID-19 will be with us for some time.
I am incredibly proud of the way our team at Southwest Tennessee EMC has responded to the virus. Even in the face of difficult restrictions designed to protect their health and the communities they serve, our people have met the challenges they faced with incredible resolve and determination to serve their friends and neighbors.
Likewise, it is uplifting to see the communities we serve rally to overcome our current difficulties. Local leaders, teachers, medical professionals, ministry leaders and others have stepped up to the plate, made the tough calls and provided compassion to those in need. When things needed to be done, you stepped up and did what was right.
Strong co-ops and strong communities have a few things in common.
The challenges of the last few months are unlike anything most of us can remember. Businesses, schools, churches and factories all closed to keep people safe from the virus, and creativity was infectious. Small businesses provided new options. Teachers modified their curriculum and came up with new and creative ways to reach their students. Ministers moved their church services online. Even the co-op had to find new ways to provide the services our communities depend on. We are strong because we adapt to overcome the challenges we face.
One of the unexpected blessings of the pandemic has been an outpouring of goodwill. Aire Serve Tipton in Tipton County has donated more than 2,500 meals to families in need during the COVID-19 situation. And STEMC has found opportunities to serve through Southwest Members Care (SMC). SMC has been able to support food banks at Covington First United Methodist Church, Brighton Baptist Church and Estes Church of Christ in Henderson.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has developed a Community Cares Fund that helps communities during the COVID-19 crisis. The TVA fund was able to match the funding that SMC provided to these four organizations and thus help with the needs in our communities. We are strong because we care about the people around us.
We power on.
Our communities are resilient. The people who live here are resilient. The employees of your co-op are resilient. When things are difficult or even frightening, we don’t quit. We don’t sit down and give up. We do the things that need to be done. We persevere. We power on.
Regardless of the challenges we face, I am confident that the people of West Tennessee will find ways to adapt, demonstrate boundless compassion and, above all, power on. A strong co-op. A strong community.