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Dear Eaton Rapids,

I’m not going to write to you about washing your hands. You already know that. I’m not going to tell you about the shortages in the grocery stores or the closure of businesses. You already know that. I’m not going to address how you, as a person, should cope with what has been delivered unto us. That is up to each of you as an individual. What works for me may not work for you.

What I am going to talk with you about is community. I have spent the last several days observing people in crisis. Crisis caused by chaos and the unknown.
Fears that are genuine and some of which have been manufactured. Questions that are going unanswered or the answers seem to be politically based or emerging from conspiracy theorists. The 24hrs of news that we can’t seem to turn off. Much like the car wreck that you can’t turn away from. You Tube videos of near riots in stores over bottled water and toilet paper.

What all this has in common is how it effects not only the individual but the community. As a police officer I dealt with crisis on a daily, sometimes on an hourly basis. Police officers seem to thrive in that type of environment. People wonder why. Because they learn to compartmentalize and restore order to chaotic situations. They become proficient at crisis management out of necessity.
It wouldn’t be calming to a person in crisis if the Police Officer showed up and lost their composure. What type of message would that send? I can answer that, hopelessness.

I am asking each of you to try to help each other to restore a sense of community.
Work with your neighbors on child care issues. If you are going to the store ask the shut in neighbor if they need anything. Talk with your children. If you don’t think the little ones sense that things are off you are mistaken.

Take the time to extend thoughtfulness and courtesy to those around you. Those most close to you.

Use this opportunity to rebuild the foundation for the community structure that we want to restore. Each kind word or gesture is a building block. Your good intentions are the mortar that will once again bind us together as a community.

After all “YOU ARE ER.” Together “WE ARE ER.”

Remember to listen to the poets of our day. The James Taylor’s, the John Lennon’s, the Paul
McCartney’s, the Aretha Franklin’s, the Jim Croce’s and the John Denver’s. Let their words echo
in your minds and in your hearts.

I bid all of you peace. We will get through this and be stronger for it. I have watched a lot of
sunrises in Eaton Rapids. I know in my heart that our sun will never set.