Utahns remember moments of coming together for the common good from past year

Susanne Jones, Salt Lake County Library administration office coordinator, throws a completed face mask into a pile while sewing them at the Viridian Library in West Jordan on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Salt Lake County and Stitching Hearts Worldwide have partnered to make 250,000 face masks with the help of volunteers.

(Kristin Murphy, KSL, File)



Editor's note: This story is a part of a series for general conference week.

SALT LAKE CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a mental and physical toll on communities over the past year. We asked you to share a time this year where despite differences, you came together for a common good.

Seventy-seven Utahns responded to our survey, with several themes emerging. Many responses spoke about being health care workers, wearing your mask, and the September windstorm. Others spoke about moments outside of this year when the community came together, remembering events like 9/11. Here are five responses:

Project Protect

"Participating in Project Protect making 6 million masks for health care workers and caregivers in six weeks was a time we came together for a common good. We all felt isolated, but we pooled our talents and resources to accomplish an amazing feat. While I was alone at my house sewing, I was part of a much larger thing. It was very cathartic after the worries of the pandemic. My eyes would fill with tears as I'd pick up and drop off masks seeing the organized, large-scale effort and knowing I was playing a small part — something I could do."

Volunteering

"In January when emotions and opinions about the election were clashing and even families were divided I was asked to find volunteers for drive-thru vaccination clinics in our area. For the next few weeks I saw the best in people; no one knew who voted for whom, who sided with whom in particular events, etc. Patients getting their vaccinations were grateful for everyone — volunteers and clinic staff; volunteers were happy to be serving; clinic staff was efficient, kind and friendly. I am moving now but the clinics continue and the volunteers keep gladly serving and patients keep gratefully smiling and staff members keep making our community safer, one needle at a time."

Finding support in loss

"My 5-year-old passed away from complications due to leukemia last June. It has been a devastating time for my family. Devastating. And it has been made even more complicated amid the pandemic. The one thing that has made this terrible time just a little sweeter is the way this event brought mine and my wife's families together, as well as countless friends. Our bonds and relationships have been strengthened and there have been so many people in our community willing and able to help lift our burden. Even if it's only for brief moments between the pain of our loss, that support has given us just a little more hope for a brighter future. There are so many kind and empathetic people in the world, despite all of the negativity we see. So many of us out there love and show love, and do amazing things to make the lives around them better than they were."

Raising money for a good cause

"I asked the community for yard sale items as a donation and hosted a gigantic fundraiser in my front yard. We raised nearly $4K for a family whose daughter battled various health conditions during the peak of the pandemic. The community RALLIED for that baby girl. #prayforemorygraceharris"

Community clean-ups

"After the massive downslope winds, our entire neighborhood worked together to clear fallen trees, assist the elderly with cleanup and clear our streets and sidewalks. Politics, religion, covid, nothing came into play as we worked hard together."

Responses lightly edited for clarity.

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