The year 2020 has brought many challenges to Monroe County and our citizens. I am sure most people can agree that we did not realize how good we had it during the fall of 2019.

Somehow, only less than a year ago, everything seemed much more simple. Now, we are facing a pandemic, a national state of unrest and county budget requests.

This is certainly not the year we anticipated. As we look to a future that still seems very uncertain, it is easy to dismiss how blessed we are in spite of all of the chaos happening around us. With the existence of social media, it is even easier to forget that each of us are humans and kindness is still necessary online. Rumors, gossip, false data and knee-jerk reactions only add to the division and unrest that we are witnessing all across our nation today.

Despite whether we agree or disagree with one another, we need one another to move our nation, state and Monroe County forward toward a more successful future.

Thankfully, Monroe County has never lacked the spirit of community. Community is such an easy term to use, but the meaning is far more complex than people often realize. Community is not a location. Community is not an organization. Community is a feeling and reflects the relationships we have developed with the people in Monroe County that help create a sense of belonging, safety and care for one another.

When times are hard, we come together to prevail. Throughout COVID-19, businesses and individuals alike have volunteered their time and services to provide to others in need. Recently, we have seen prayer gatherings and peaceful protests across the county to show support and unity in our communities alongside our law enforcement officers.

In these moments, I am reminded how proud I am to serve each of you. Monroe County is such a special place because of our citizens. For that, I thank you.

We are truly blessed to live in Monroe County. We are more fortunate to be able to work together to overcome our challenges, no matter how difficult they may seem at the time.

At the end of the day, we will always be better together. We will always be Monroe strong.

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Mitch Ingram is Monroe County Mayor.

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