How will you remember 2020 in Macomb County?

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published December 19, 2020

Shutterstock image


MACOMB COUNTY — While the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, 2020 is.

Between the onset of the outbreak in Michigan in March and now, C & G Newspapers asked various elected officials and community leaders across Macomb County two questions for this story — how will 2020 be remembered in the future, and what is a positive that can be taken away from these trying times?

In no specific order, here are some responses.


Clinton-Macomb Public Library Director Larry Neal:
“It will be remembered as a test at how resilient we can be during a crisis. We were one of the first libraries in the state to participate with Macomb County in preparing for an outbreak of some sort, envisioning something terrorist related. We asked if we could have a strong virtual presence even under the most difficult of situations, and we did. We hoped we offered some comfort and sanity.”


Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts:
“It will be remembered for how the school year finished. We ended with a sudden change. I think it should be remembered for the effort so many people made to give our kids as normal of an experience we could possibly give them. Parents became such an integral part of their child’s education, like they’ve never been before. This year, they took on a much greater role.”


Bill Ridella, director/health officer, at the Macomb County Health Department:
“The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be remembered for its widespread impact on everything we do — how we live, how we work and how we learn. As we look to the future, it is my hope that this experience will lead to better preparedness and an increased ability to engage vulnerable populations. For example, it is clear that the pandemic revealed inequities in health care and social and economic factors that contribute to poor health outcomes for communities of color. These factors, and the uneven effects of COVID-19 on different communities make it clear why we must bridge these inequities in the future. In addition, we all know about the devastating effect that COVID-19 had in long-term care and assisted living facilities. We need to be proactive and make sure that nursing homes and their staff are fully equipped and receive proper training and guidance now to avoid similar situations in the future. I believe this pandemic will also be remembered for the tremendous efforts, dedication, and commitment of all of the professionals and staff at hospitals, EMS providers, long-term care facilities, local public health departments and other first responders.”


Michigan State Sen. Mike MacDonald, who represents Macomb Township, parts of Clinton Township and Sterling Heights:
“A positive has been the appreciation for health care workers and what they do. The other positive is how important our businesses are. You shut down the businesses and a lot of people suffer greatly because of that. The economy is important for our state. It will be remembered for how we were embarrassingly unprepared, which is a little weird because you’d think we’d be prepared for a pandemic.”


Macomb Lutheran North Principal John Reincke:
“In our culture, we are learning to adapt, overcome, and use our creativity to rewrite everything we do. It’s been exhausting, but there are some rewards to that. It makes us focus on relationships at home and it’s been a good chance to dial it back a little bit in our personal lives and not have to chase sports, and activities, which are good, but sometimes we choose to pile on so many activities, we don’t have a whole lot of time for stuff at home, which is probably more meaningful. The strengthening of home life and families is a positive. There’s the pain of sickness and death that we get to minister through and share the Gospel. It’s hard times, but there’s always hope for us in Christ.”


Macomb Township Supervisor Frank Viviano:
“I think we’ll look at this year as a lost year. I don’t see any other way to look at it. The pandemic and the national vitriol that has been spewed forth by both sides of the political spectrum. It’s a bit of a dark time and there is very little who want to talk about optimism or things to look forward to. I think our adaptability has come to the forefront. People are resilient. I think most of us are doing what we can to keep each other safe. Looking at national media, they would tell you all Republicans are anti-maskers. I haven’t found that to be the case. There certainly are those on the fringes who say all kinds of things. By and large, the vast majority of Macomb County residents are trying to keep things safe and clean.”


Macomb Township Parks and Recreation Director Sal DiCaro:
“You have to take something like this and learn from it. Our staff has been very flexible and we’ll do whatever it takes. We have to learn the new normal of what it will be like. Personally and professionally, the first half of 2020 has probably been the most unique experience of our lives. Unfortunately, a lot of them were negative, and it’s something we’ve never experienced before and hopefully will never have to experience it again.”