As you might imagine, we get a lot of information at the worldwide HQ. It’s the nature of the business. Been that way at every newspaper I’ve had the pleasure of working at across five states and I’ve-lost-track-of-how-many-newspapers.
Most of it carries its own importance.
For example, my old boss Gaildene used to say that we get nothing more important than the Bible clippings.
Bible clippings, a young wet-behind-the-ears sports writer asked?
Obituaries, births, anniversaries, things like that. Things that are so important to people that they clip them out and put them in the family Bible.
On the other hand, we get a few things from the other end of the spectrum.
For example, did you know that there were giant wind turbines being built in Montgomery County? Yes sir, we have an anonymous letter that claims exactly that and even provides a somewhat blurry and grainy photo as proof.
OK, then.
But we got a press release yesterday that made me stop. It came from the AHLA, American Hotel & Lodging Association. It said that Indiana stands to lose 10,991 hotel jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic. Worse, they anticipate the state is also going to lose 44,855 jobs that support the hotel industry.
No, no, no. This is not the time to point fingers. I’ve had it up to here and now with the blame game. Trump didn’t do enough. Trump did too much. How about if we save the blame or credit for the ballot box and until then, oh, I don’t know, shut the hell up.
The bigger point, the much bigger point, is that lives are being disrupted. Mightily. Yes, Montgomery County has now joined the majority of the counties in Indiana with at least one confirmed case of the coronavirus COVID-19. No one knows how many more we’ll have – it be a miracle if we didn’t – but even if we had somehow managed to avoid the virus altogether, there is a steep price being paid.
People have lost jobs. That is no small fact. While it’s heartening to see so many well wishes and good intentions through e-mails and social media and such, it doesn’t change the fact that food servers are out of work with no money coming in and the rent coming due. I got a phone call from a hair stylist who said she was told she can’t work. She has two children under the age of 5. She doesn’t have a savings account. After rent and groceries next week, she doesn’t know how she will feed them. Or herself.
What answer does she have? It’s not like she can run out and get another job. She had one. Still does. But when can she go back? No one knows.
Health and fatalities aside – which is a lot like saying “other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?” – this is hitting people very hard.
What will the answer be?
Us. All of us.
This is where communities come in. Churches, friends, family, neighbors, good Samaritans, you, me.
None of us have a clue what the government is going to do. I do believe – strongly – that our local government will do things right. I do believe – strongly – that the health department and those on the front lines are the heroes in the fight on the health front.
The rest of us need to be heroes in the fight on the people front.
How?
Up to you.
It appears many are. God bless you. We need more. A lot more. Do it in whatever way you think best, whatever way you can. You won’t regret it. Not for a second.
Along those lines, here’s hoping the good folks at MUFFY are working furiously behind the scenes. Here’s hoping that they are close to hiring a director. Here’s hoping that they have selected a 2020 campaign chair so a fund-raising drive can get going. Here’s hoping they are listening to people who know and deeply understand how non-profits work. Here’s hoping they will end the silence and tell all of us soon where things stand.
Can you imagine how well a United Fund drive might do right now when there’s so much evidence pointing to people being receptive to helping? I hope that the powers that be in MUFFY are working on that.
Truth to tell, we are in a crisis that is very likely going to get worse before it gets better. That’s not a prediction on virus numbers – although that may be part of it. Economically things are going to get worse.
We have to find ways to offer the help and marshal the resources.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.