Looking back through the past year, I think the theme of 2019 in Lincoln County was one of “resiliency.”
From Jan. 1, our region was put through its paces as it faced trial after trial. Instead of falling apart, the communities showed how they are able to come together in the worst of times.
The spring/summertime flooding seen in the eastern parts of the county serve as a perfect example of this. Winfield, Elsberry and Foley saw the waters rise to uncomfortable levels, with many people displaced from their homes. The efforts made by local groups to prevent the loss of life and property were constant and seemingly never-ending. Practically every day it felt like I would send a reporter out – by car or sometimes by boat – to record the sandbagging efforts and the actions of people trapped by the deluge of rank floodwater. The way members of the community conducted themselves both during and after the flooding was inspiring, from the constant stream of volunteers sending sandbags to the levees to the Foley Church’s fight to re-open its doors in time to hold a coat drive before winter, there was plenty of determination to go around.
Even discounting all the flooding, this past year Lincoln County showed its willingness to support its own in the hardest of times. Lives lost in 2019 included the young and old, but each time the community turned out in force to lend a hand and a sympathetic ear.
Three Troy Buchanan students were killed over the course of the summer in car accidents, and hundreds of people poured into Clonts Field in August to remember Brayden Hood, Mario Montalvo and Hunter Thorp.
At the Lincoln County Fair in July, the crowd at the hog pen was filled with people bearing “Turp Tribe” t-shirts, in support of the Turpin family, who’d lost their son Tayler in May. Madilynn, Tayler’s sister, was showing a hog, and over 70 people went in to buy the animal, raising over $10,000 for Madilynn’s education.
And just recently, the Lincoln County branch of the Salvation Army was also put to the test. Ahead of the holiday season, it was announced that the chapter would have to close, due to it’s leadership having to step down for medical reasons.
Within less than a week or so of this announcement, a local woman stepped forward to take over the task – right before the busiest time of the year for the Salvation Army – and steer the organization through turbulent waters. Social media has been flooded with pictures of local students, businesses and families ringing the bells for the Red Kettle drive and raising money for people who don’t have any.
With any luck, 2020 will treat Lincoln County more kindly than 2019 did – but if the hard times come back, the people out here will know they and their neighbors are able to handle whatever troubles arise.