In one of Hank Williams Jr’s songs, he says, “I never back down and I love a good challenge.” I feel the same, but I surely never thought I would face a challenge like this!

Currently, a large portion of the nation’s economy is shutting down. Restaurants, bars, salons, barbershops, bowling alleys, and other social gathering places are all closed. Workers are being laid off, businesses are hurting and more changes are coming. This is a difficult time, no doubt, but this too shall pass.

I can tell you that your local elected officials, hospital personnel, first responders, and others have come together in an unprecedented manner. Egos and territory have been set aside, and we are all working together for you. We do not always agree on the way forward, and that is a good thing. We each bring different perspective and experiences, thus different reactions and solutions. We are a team! Not just your elected officials and other leaders, but all of Hopkins County’s residents. We are facing these problems and challenges head on with our eyes open.

I do not want to only talk about or dwell on the challenges; we all know what is going on. I want us to think about our reactions to it and the opportunities it presents. Like the ice storm, this pandemic is giving us a chance to slow down, to breathe, and to enjoy some quiet time.

While we have power, television is still operational, and our cell phones are working, I want to encourage every citizen to turn off your TV’s and phones, stay off of social media, if only for a short time, every evening. Spend time with your family, your children, and your spouse. Get out a board game, go for a walk, enjoy a sunset.

Instead of concentrating on our problems, think about how we can help a neighbor. Folks, we can concentrate on everything that is bad, or we can love on another. Stop hoarding; start sharing! Stop despairing; start smiling! Ask your elderly neighbor if they need you to shop for them. Remember, it is hard to think about our own problems while we are helping someone else

We will come out on the other side stronger and better prepared for the challenges life throws at us. This is a learning experience, the lessons you take from it are up to you.

Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr. welcomes citizens to visit him by appointment or over the phone by calling (270) 821-8294.

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