Early March reflections

While it would be easy to touch on skyrocketing gas prices and what that might mean for our end-of-the-road resort this summer with both the drive and air market (parking management in town might not be a huge problem for instance), there are a few significant things this time of year we as a community should remember from our past…

Early March in Crested Butte marks a couple of relatively modern anniversaries we would rather not have to commemorate. On March 6, 1990 the Crested Butte State Bank was levelled by a gas explosion. Three ladies who worked at the bank died — Jade Woelk, Donna Smith and Monica Henning — hence the Three Ladies Park. It was a traumatic day in town and the 14 survivors who were in the bank at the time of the explosion are walking miracles.

Early March 2020 is when the coronavirus found its way into Crested Butte. Within weeks this town was one of the top five places in the entire country most impacted by the then mysterious virus. Ultimately it claimed the lives of some of our friends and neighbors. While two years later the infection numbers are tiny in comparison, it has not been an easy journey. 

The county responded quickly to the pandemic and while dealing with a completely unknown coronavirus, Gunnison County did pretty well to contain the virus. Was everything done perfectly? Of course not. No one knew what the heck was happening. But looking back two years later, we can be proud that our communal efforts stemmed the tide, kept our economy healthy, allowed our students to continuously attend classes in school, and for the most part, pulled together to successfully fight something that unfortunately, might still surprise. While I no longer have a mask in my pocket every day, I know where it is if needed again.

We asked Gunnison County public health director Joni Reynolds to reflect on the last two years. Her essay begins on page 1. Dr. Jason Hogan did as well. You can read his thoughts starting on page 3.

We are not necessarily out of the woods yet with this disease or another waiting in the wings. The bank explosion was one of those things that is not supposed to happen to good people…but sometimes does. Both incidents have demonstrated this small community is tough, resilient and up to the task of facing adversity head on. While we wish we did not have to commemorate such events, they are part of our small town history and prove again, that in our unique way, we always keep on keeping on.

—Mark Reaman

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