Keeping in mind print publication deadlines, I am always asked to submit this column to editors eight days before it is scheduled to arrive at your homes.
Eight days have never made a significant difference in the topic I chose to write about. Yet, as I prepare to share my thoughts, I am forced to consider that and how likely it is much could change between now and then.
This is indeed a time like we've never experienced, requiring action like we've never seen. We are blessed in Grove City to have a talented and forward-thinking staff of caring individuals who impress me every day with their efforts and determination to protect and support our community through the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Combine their efforts with the coordination and cooperation of local and state leadership, our chamber, visitors' bureau, emergency management agencies, schools, townships and businesses to find one of the country's most aggressive efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
I'm encouraged by the camaraderie and support of our community. I can't stress enough the gratitude I have toward the individuals who face the virus head-on every day -- in addition to caring for their loved ones -- including health-care workers; first responders; essential businesses and all of their associates; and the front-line workers keeping the supply chain moving at grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, post offices, shipping/delivery companies and more.
Realizing early on that the network of volunteers and community residents with needs was growing, we established a call center to connect those individuals. Residents can call 614-277-3560 to be connected with volunteers and services to help with needs ranging from medication pick up and meals to lawn mowing and changing batteries in a resident's smoke detector.
No task is too small for these volunteers who include your neighbors, church members, LifeCare Alliance service providers and more.
Additionally, I see and hear of residents bringing cheer to one another through brightly colored chalk art or positive messages displayed in windows; and businesses creating innovative solutions, such as brewing companies making hand sanitizer.
I encourage each of you to find ways to stay emotionally and physically healthy through these daily changes. As physical distancing and provisional closures become the new (temporary) normal, I'm compelled to echo the thoughts of Ohio's first lady, Fran DeWine, and encourage residents to embrace the opportunity to slow down and enjoy family time.
Remember family game nights? Bring out the playing cards and board games and have a little fun. Read a book to your younger family members or call an older family member and read to him or her. Cook dinner as a family, divvying out the tasks to create a delicious dining experience.
Some additional ideas include virtually visiting some of the world's best museums, starting a new hobby or trying your hand at relaxation techniques or yoga led by online instructors.
And, of course, keep moving by taking a walk or bicycle ride.
It's important to remember, although we are not physically side by side, we are all in this together.
One thing we do well in Grove City, is spread our small-town love and support to one another -- especially during trying times.
Richard L. "Ike" Stage is the mayor of Grove City.