There is no doubt the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has added unwelcome stress and anxiety to all of our lives here and around the world.

As folks worry about meeting the basic needs of their families, their ability to work, their mental and emotional health, child care and other concerns, bright spots of hope are emerging right down the street.

More than ever, our local communities are coming together in new ways to strengthen their response to the crisis, to deliver critical services to their residents and businesses and to support their neighbors.

The health crisis adds great pressure on local leaders to make serious decisions under tight time constraints with limited resources while balancing their personal needs.

From public-health officials and emergency managers to those who drive our buses, keep us safe, plan for our communities and so much more, the honorable and quiet work of local public service continues. Even in this intense time, we can depend on the services provided by local governments to improve our lives and hold our community together.

As central Ohio's regional council of nearly 75 local governments, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission serves as a resource for cities, villages, townships, counties and other regional organizations -- especially as we all face new challenges during the health crisis.

Our work helps bring the region together to improve transportation, sustainability, development and housing so we can ensure our region's growth improves our quality of life, our economy and our environment.

Central Ohio works well together, with businesses, nonprofits and government coming together to advance prosperity and tackle difficult challenges.

It's the well-known "Columbus Way" -- but it has been especially effective during this health crisis. Everyone is coming together to address concerns, share best practices, advance the response to the coronavirus and reduce its impact on community services and operations. I'm proud of the MORPC team for its help behind the scenes, providing resources, technical assistance and convening time-critical conversations with local officials.

Our communities will face many difficult decisions over the coming months and years as a result of COVID-19. The work of recovery might not be easy. The collaborative spirit and hard work -- in the middle of a crisis -- are saving lives and keeping our communities going, setting the stage for a region ready to recover and emerge even stronger.

Thank you to all those performing necessary public service to keep our communities strong during the health crisis -- employees, volunteers and elected officials. On behalf of our MORPC team, we stand with you as a resource, service and good neighbor. We are all in this together, central Ohio.

William Murdock is executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. MORPC's purpose is to bring communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of the region.