We are all in this together.
If there is one statement that I would like to get across more than anything else in the pages of the Daily Mountain Eagle, that would be it. We are navigating through some scary times. A word like “pandemic” is scary to say, but coming to the realization that you’re living through one is downright frightening. Just like any other disaster, the only way that we come out of this one is by working together for the greater good.
While contacting the coronavirus is causing fear in many, it is the questions surrounding its spread and the collateral damage being caused that is keeping me awake at night.
I have a wife and five children at home that I have to think about taking care of constantly. I have nearly 40 employees at the Daily Mountain Eagle and their families to make sure are good. As the publisher of the DME, I also worry about this entire community. Walker County is my home. It is where I grew up, and it is where I plan on being for the rest of my days. I care about every single thing that has to do with this county, and I’ve put a lot of time and effort into doing my part and focusing our newspaper to do its part to improve this place that I love so much.
Hearing the stories of workers being sent home, plants closing and businesses suffering is frightening. We are not immune to that here at the Daily Mountain Eagle. No business is immune to what this pandemic is causing.
But hearing stories about people working to make sure others are fed, restaurants changing their business models to provide food from the curbside and teachers spending their time at home to do Facebook Live readings or lessons with their students helps to calm some of that fright. It helps to see what we can do when we think outside the box for ways to help others.
My social media feeds were filled on Sunday morning with church services from around our area. And the few that I tuned into were spreading a message of hope, not doom and gloom. I’ve also seen several offering devotions daily on Facebook and other avenues. A few churches are even finding ways to do small groups or Bible studies through various networking apps.
I got a message on Tuesday afternoon from a friend who was doing a Zumba class via Facebook Live that evening to try to keep people moving and heathy while they are kind of stuck at home. Another person close to me is offering yoga classes for free online. Those are great ways to help take our minds off the uncertainty of life right now.
Jennifer Cohron, DME features editor, sent me a text on Tuesday morning asking if maybe we should have our staff submit binge-worthy television shows or podcasts for quarantine survival, which I thought was a great idea. I even said that I would give the first recommendation for “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” on Netflix. I’ll write more about that when that piece comes out, but do yourself a favor and check it out. It was just what the doctor ordered for me over last weekend to help take my mind off things.
Throughout this ordeal, the Daily Mountain Eagle has and will continue to keep our readers informed on how COVID-19 is affecting us here in Jasper and Walker County. We have not tried to cause a panic, but we have wanted our readers to be prepared.
I wrote last week about how the DME is not mainstream media, but we are local news. What we really are is your friends and family, your neighbors and the people who sit next to you at church. Our kids are staying at home now because their school is cancelled temporarily. Our family members are in nursing homes and we cannot visit them. We are having trouble finding toilet paper too.
I want you to know that you are not going through this alone. Honestly, I need to read and soak in that last statement as much as anyone. None of us are along in this. We are fighting it together.
The Daily Mountain Eagle will be here for you, giving you information as accurately and as quickly as we can. We will be telling your stories as we all go through this together. If you have comments or questions, please contact us. Let us know what is happening so we can let your friends and neighbors know about it as well.
Let’s all keep washing our hands, but let’s all also keep reaching those hands out to help others during this time.
We are all in this together.
James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.