Let’s face it – these are very difficult times we are living in. The impact of this pandemic we are living through affects us all in multiple ways. There seems to be no quick fixes and the return to normal may take a long time and look quite different from the normal we used to know. Some of us may suffer the loss of loved ones or endure long-term health issues. The economic consequences and job losses will not go away overnight, either. But we are resilient and caring people, and somehow, some way, we will find a way to go on. Let no one bet against us. It will be difficult, but we will find a way and go on.

As we begin to emerge from self-quarantine and social distancing, we have choices to make, which will help us get through. We can look back to previous hardships and remember how we solved problems, made sacrifices and overcame a dire situation. Ask yourself, where did you find that strength? How did you do it? Maybe we find inspiration in the lives of loved ones who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the 911 Attack, or combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe their lives were torn apart. How did they survive? How did they find the strength? Maybe we know someone, or we ourselves have overcome unbelievable challenges to survive and make a better life. How did we do it? How did our loved ones triumph over hardship?

Most likely, those who triumph over hardship do so not because they choose to follow selfish and lawless actions. Instead, those who overcome overwhelming obstacles often emerge with greater recognition of the core values that they leaned on that hardened their resolve and inspired their path forward.

Instead of just looking out for Number 1, they recognize that we are all in this together, that strength comes in numbers, like the band of brothers or the family that sticks together. We find inspiration in the stories of those who have endured great hardship while continuing to look out for the needs of others.

Just look at our first responders in Galt who risk their lives for us, our essential workers who take chances to make it possible for us to buy groceries, our health care workers, our teachers. In short, we rely on each other. We rely on the basic goodness of those around us.

Now is not the time to abandon hope. Now, more than ever, we can all benefit from looking to those values and character traits that have seen us through difficult times.

In Galt, our history shows that we value character so firmly that we selected six character traits to promote on an ongoing basis to contribute to the culture of our community: integrity, honesty, respect, pride in community, responsibility, and caring and compassion.

Since 2007, the Galt Community of Character Coalition has celebrated respect as the character trait of focus for May and June.

In Galt, much of that cherished small town feeling is brought about by the many people who practice the character trait of respect continuously. In fact, respect is such an endearing value to our community that we are eager to honor and tell the stories of those who demonstrate respect in their daily lives.

In our schools and throughout our community, respect is taught and practiced. In our small town and community, where we all value our quality of life, let us all continue to show respect to each other, especially during these difficult times.

Without respect, life in our small town would be very different. No one wants to be treated unfairly, marginalized or disrespected.

Disrespect is a powerful tool. But respect is more powerful. When we have an attitude of respect toward others, we hold a tool that can bring a powerfully calming influence on the most heated situation. Respect opens doors to friendship and trust. Respect allows space for tolerance and compassion. Respect allows us to see things from our neighbor’s perspective.

When we think of persons who are able to promote peace, whether it is in our families, at our job sites, in our schools, or at higher levels, we find people who exemplify respect.

Those who practice respect for others are able to be peacemakers in their daily lives. Now, more than ever, we need to practice respect in our small town and beyond. Something as easy as wearing a mask in stores tells everyone that you are watching out for them, protecting them from whatever germs you may be carrying. You are respecting their space, their health. With this gesture, you are also demonstrating respect to our essential workers and protecting the overall health of our community.

Perhaps you know someone in our community who is a great model of respect. The Galt Community of Character Coalition is looking for individuals, groups or organizations that are deserving of recognition for the great examples they set in their daily lives. Please take the time to nominate an individual or group that is deserving of the Galt Character Award for respect for 2020. Please use the form printed with this article, or email the information with details to Barbara Payne, president of the Galt Community of Character Committee, barbarapayne@softcom.net. Be sure to include the following information: name, address and phone number of your nominee, and write a brief explanation of how this person, group or organization demonstrates respect. Give examples, if possible. Also, give us your name, address, phone number and email.

 Deadline for nomination is June 30, 2020.