Friends and colleagues, I hope this note finds each of you healthy and happy. As many of you know, I’m a fan of brief emails. This will not be one of those. . . .
Because you folks are simply amazing.
Please allow me to take a few moments of your time to express deep gratitude to each and every one of you for your part in the co-creation of the citizen-led, all-volunteer, social safety net of natural disasters known as Bainbridge Prepares. We’ve been building this community preparedness organization for almost nine years (our birthday is this upcoming June). It’s been rewarding to observe how our nonprofit has been functioning in its first true stress test and application. Since January, we’ve reinforced projects and people that were performing well, modified other teams as needed, and added significant resources we had not anticipated needing.
We’ve learned what maps directly from our earthquake preparations—such as a focus on sheltering-in-place—and what we needed to (quickly!) add for this pandemic. As we moved our nonprofit to full activation over the past month and then participation in the EOC at City Hall this past week, Executive Director Loren and I found our stride, with him out and about every day/all day in the community engaged with many of you—new partners like BARN, journalists, and much more—and myself operating from the EOC with our excellent partners and trusted friends COBI EM Coordinator Anne LeSage and BIFD Deputy Chief Jared Moravec.
Loren has become new best friends with practically everyone he meets, and I’ve had the pleasure of spending more time with someone I deeply respect, BIFD Chief Hank Teran, as well as watching City Manager Morgan Smith’s leadership up close and personal for the first time. After living with them for this past week at the EOC, I can say with 100 percent confidence that we are incredibly lucky to have them at the helm during a worldwide crisis like this, especially with Anne’s calm strategic and tactical brain working overtime.
Over the past month I’ve spoken with versions of us in other towns across the country, with most of those folks lamenting their lack of local civic leadership and community coordination. We are blessed with the opposite due to your diligent and positive efforts. I am so proud of each of you, whether your team has already been activated or you are standing by and offering support in other ways. Please extend my appreciation and a (digital) fist bump to all of your team members. At the risk of triggering an acronym allergy, a quick shout of gratitude to our rock stars in MRC, BIEMR, and CERT and to our wonderful MYN Captains.
Much of our organization’s work has consisted of proactively stemming off potential issues and efficiently sorting/solving new issues as they quickly arise. Thankfully, we’ve avoided much of the confusion I’m hearing is happening elsewhere because we’ve already built deep relationships throughout our island community, from the leadership of local agencies and nonprofits to the front-line volunteers giving significant amounts of their time, brainpower, and resources.
You already know this, but it deserves to be stated blatantly: a large portion of our collective strength comes from supportive life partners and family members who allow each of us to act on our shared passion for positive-focused community preparedness. These are very patient folks! Please pass on my gratitude for the love they support each of us with every day.
Three quick notes for you:
- Please welcome our newest Team Leads: Gilian Engelson and Tom Goodham of the newly-christened RAD team (Resource Acquisition & Deployment). Our recovers installation is their team’s public face: bainbridgeislandcovid19.recovers.org.
- Of course you know I am recruiting nonstop for more talent to bring to our crew. Are you on a team that is not yet activated, wanting to jump in and help? Please “little R” reply direct to me. Do you have friends asking you about how they can help? Please send them to our Recovers installation so we can get them background-checked and assigned to a project for which they have passion.
- And finally—perhaps most importantly—please take note of your self-care regime. In recent weeks I had fallen off my normal routine of meditation and exercise, giving in to the rapidly increasing time demands of working on BP during the day and doing my “day” job at night. I’ve now corrected that unsustainable approach and encourage you to do the same. You might find the practical daily tips from our Wellness Team Leads useful: bainbridgeprepares.org/wellness.
Many of you have heard me say this to enough audiences to know how I’ll end this note: Please continue to look at this pandemic through a lens of love, not fear, and encourage those around you to do the same. Our island *will* recover from this, and we will emerge a stronger and tighter-knit community than ever before.
Well done, friends. Keep going.
Founder and Board Chair, Bainbridge Prepares