Good news abundant amid trying times

(From left) Grayson Walter, Tripper Walter, and Cooper Lafferty offer parents goodie bags filled with free art supplies Saturday morning on the parking lot of The Rock Worship Center in Park City. Their make-shift drive-through saw more than 50 of the goodie bags being given away, as the boys also practiced good hygiene, using an appropriate hand sanitizer with each visitor.

News of neighbors helping neighbors, volunteers offering to assist others, leaders being proactive as they work to protect residents, and educators sharing of themselves have been abundant in the last week amid these trying times.

In countless cases, businesses have bent over backward to help their customers, offering special hours for seniors to shop and curbside and/or home delivery to residents, all as most in the community find themselves limiting their interactions, staying close to home, to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“If anyone needs help with your groceries or prescriptions, please let your church or any of our churches know, or call our office,” said Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman in one of several press conferences last week, noting that his office (931-433-3045) and local churches have volunteers available to help those in need. “All the churches are there for not only their members but any member of the community.”

Leadership urged residents not to buy more than what they need when it comes to groceries and supplies as they discussed perhaps the greatest negative that has come from current conditions.

The supply chain should catch up to demand soon, so there should be no shortages if people don’t hoard, said Fayetteville Mayor Michael Whisenant in another press conference. Similar comments were also echoed by Newman.

“Be optimistic,” Whisenant said. “It can be real easy to be pessimistic. This isn’t the first time our nation has faced certain things like this. We will get through it. Right now, we’re just trying to mitigate as best we can. Stay hopeful and involved. Help your neighbor when you can. Be supportive of our people at FPU, our city workers, and be mindful that they are taking a chance every day when they come to work.”

The officials also praised staffs at Lincoln Health System, Lincoln County Health Department, local law enforcement, and others on the job.

“Stay positive,” said Newman, offering local parks, such as Stone Bridge Park and the Joy Gleghorn Preserve at Wells Hill as options to get out, stay active, and observe God’s miracles. “We know what the big plan is that God has for us, but we don’t know the day-to-day things that are happening ... We do know that God told us He will never leave us, nor will He forsake us. We’ve got to remember that. Do your part. Disconnect from some of the things that are negative, stay positive, call a friend or family member, see if they need something. One of the things that will help you is if you help somebody else.”

Lincoln County Schools and Fayetteville City Schools have launched meal service programs for children. While spring break ended Friday, both school systems are not scheduled to reopen until April 6, and that remains under evaluation. With that in mind and the desire to continue the educational process, each of the systems are distributing work to students.

Local educators are also helping spread optimism across the community. Among them, Jennie Roles-Walter and Tim Hobbs.

Hobbs, a teacher at Ralph Askins Elementary, has shared ideas for children’s activities on his social media page as he’s also made face masks for use as school lunches and academic packages are handed out to students this week.

Walter, art teacher at Lincoln County High School, and her husband, Cameron Walter, director of radiology at Lincoln Medical Center, along with their boys and a friend put together more than 50 art kits last week and parked themselves at The Rock Worship Center at the top of Park City hill Saturday, distributing the kits to children.

“It is very important to keep children engaged and productive during this time,” she posted.

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