Summer 0f 2020: COVID, a Flood and Racism…

By Gail Landon

This is a summer that we will never forget! It is a summer of two pandemics: COVID and RACISM.  It is also the summer that Branch 29 could not open up because of a flood, but that is for later. Both pandemics are global and pervasive.  So many lives lost due to COVID; so many injustices due to racism. 

Most of us have had the experience of being teased or taunted; but marginalized people the world over have and continue to experience institutional racism.  Unless it is lived, we do not fully understand how devastating discrimination is. Marginalized peoples do not have the ‘privilege’ of experiencing life the way that most do. They are often misjudged and stereotyped as they try to go about their daily lives. Stereotypes make it hard for people to fully integrate into our communities. It is not in line with the freedoms that our veterans fought for. We must not forget that our veterans fought for freedom for ALL… not just for some. The summer of 2020 is also one of hope. We hope that as we look back on the summer of 2020, we examine our own biases and take steps to further embrace diversity, both personally and institutionally.

Further we hope that as we look back on the summer of 2020, we take a deep look at our values as a community, a nation and a world.  The COVID-19 virus has caused us all to realize the importance of our nuclear family, keeping them safe and well.  It has helped us learn that each of us can make sacrifices that can support one another through a crisis. It has helped us live simpler lives and look for balance in our day to day interactions. For some there is deep skepticism around COVID, for others there is extreme worry. Regardless the global measures taken have saved lives, especially those of our most vulnerable populations. We hope that people will continue to embrace the values of family and community as we gradually begin to open up. Branch 29 would like to extend a THANK YOU to all of the people in our valley who have and will continue to make a difference through this crisis.

As many of you know, Branch 29 had a flood mid-April.  Combined with the COVID, Branch 29 is hurting as we work to make necessary repairs.  The reality is that the Canteen will likely not re-open until the first of September.  We are hoping to open the upper hall mid-summer but that timeline remains to be seen. Our reality is that we have regular expenses with no revenue.  Instead we have held many fundraising activities including two hot dog sales at Pealows and a car wash at Classic Glass.  Thank you for your community support!  We will be doing more over the summer.  We have a Go Fund Me donation page at  Many people have reached out to us with donations through GO Fund Me or in person donations.  Thank you!  Our goal is to raise $11,000 so that we can limp through the summer, make needed repairs and build in some COVID safe renovations to improve safety for our staff, volunteers and patrons. Every dollar is important! We are absolutely confident that we will reopen our branch in a way that is safe for our ALL! 

No doubt, 2020 has been a summer of devastation, but it has also been a summer of hope.  We know that there are challenging times ahead; Branch 29 is ready to be part of the rebuild in this valley we call home.