Resilience. Resolution. Remembrance.

Those words describe the Mankato area community response to the scourge of COVID-19 that beset us one year ago.

Tests like these come rarely. And 2020 was a year as much of a challenge as any war or strife that besieged our world, our country and our community in decades.

But hopes spring from such challenges, only because we are a people united from the start with the ideal that helping our neighbors will build and sustain our communities and our country.

That help played out in emotional and heroic ways as our stories today attest.

The stories are inspiring and sad at the same time. Consider the life of 39-year old Brandy Roberts, stricken with COVID as she awaited a double lung transplant. As she lie in a hospital bed she ordered Christmas gifts for her family before she died.

And then there were those who cared for the sick and the dying. Hospital doctors and nurses worked 12- and 16-hour shifts to care for the extraordinarily high number of patients the pandemic wrought. Health-care worker spouses and children were faced with tremendous stress.

But again, we took on the challenge. Consider the perspective of emergency medicine physician Dr. Brian Bartlett: “I’ve never seen such collaboration and unity as I did last year at this time. People were sharing information around the world. The boat was fully loaded to help our community.”

There was fear but also urgency.

“People were tired, they were juggling school and work and children,” Bartlett said. “It was like we were on mile 25 of a marathon and the surge hit, but we rallied and took care of our patients.”

And there was support beyond all measures from the families of those on the front lines as they made tremendous adjustments in their own lives, working and schooling from home.

And all of this struggle has paid off.

Gov. Tim Walz and Health commissioner Jan Malcolm took to the familiar podium again Friday, this time they had good news. Restrictions on restaurants, gyms and baseball games would be rolled back considerably. People can now plan their weddings and special occasions. Together. The pandemic has been put into remission and will soon be defeated, they said.

But that good news only came after the extraordinary efforts of families, businesses, health-care workers and the entire Minnesota community.

Malcolm said she was “excited and grateful.” Said Walz: “We’re winning. This thing is coming to an end.”

As we remember those loved ones we’ve lost to COVID, we should also remember our response, resolve and resiliency to a deadly virus that turned our lives upside down. We found a way to come together and to save and rebuild our families and our communities.

Resilience. Resolution. Remembrance.

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