We will remember 2020 as a year of contrasts. The community said goodbye to some beloved people who succumbed to a virus and some who succumbed to other causes. We also bid farewell to smiling at people across fresh fruit at the grocery store, and welcoming friends and family into our homes.

At the same time that we were processing loss, change and isolation, community members innovated and collaborated to assure there was access to food, supplies, internet, housing and jobs. Nonprofits have delivered food and supplies to those who need them, and businesses collaborated to procure protective materials like masks and hand sanitizer. So many of our residents became local heroes by stepping up with dignity and wisdom.

There is a group that has worked tirelessly and gracefully to keep our community safe and strong: our health professionals.

Health professionals across our community walk into rooms where they know they can become ill to adjust bedding and machinery, to do testing and trace connections, to counsel and advise, to hold a hand.

The courage and sacrifice that each health worker has shown over the past year is astonishing. These brave, selfless people have been giving us their best when we have been at our worst. This is professionalism at its finest.

Teton County has over 2,000 health professionals who take care of our 30,000 locals. They also handle summer visitors who come in numbers that surprise us each year — more than 20,000 daily visitors in July and August.

We wish to extend our gratitude to you, our health care professionals. Thank you for taking our worried calls, for connecting us to a network of care, for testing us and tracking down people we might have infected, for giving us advice when we are anxious or depressed, for getting us vaccinated, for wearing innumerable masks and protective equipment daily, for calling our loved ones, for your kind eyes and gentle care.

Please know that we see you. You keep our community whole.

Nonprofit leaders Laurie Andrews, Fio Lazarte Beal, Heather DeVine, Shelby Read and Laura Soltau are spearheading a movement to recognize and honor health care workers. Guest Shots are solely the opinion of their authors.

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