When the COVID crisis began, I truly felt it would be a short-term event and that within one month, everything would be back to normal. It quickly became evident that I was wrong.

As with most of the country and world, the crisis put Minnesota into chaos. To date, there have been 90 executive orders issued by the governor regarding the pandemic. The first order was issued on March 13, 2020. This order declared the first peace-time emergency and set the stage for upcoming events.

It became vital for the city of Wadena to ensure services continued in a safe manner for our businesses, residents and city employees. I am so pleased with our residents. Our residents understood the need to close city facilities and quickly adapted to the “new way of doing things.”

I am thrilled with the way our employees continued to serve and adapted to the ever-changing environment. At some point during the stay-at-home mandate, guidance was given to provide all essential employees with identification. I am not a fan of the term “essential.” In my mind, all employees are essential. All of our employees received the identification because each employee provides an essential service within the city.

Wadena has amazing businesses. These businesses who were, and continue to be, heavily impacted by all of the governor’s mandates, found innovative ways to operate within the guidelines. The businesses partnered and supported one another. The City was honored to come alongside and support the businesses with their needs. This partnership and support continues.

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The Mayor used the hashtag #WadenaStrong on his personal Facebook page. Thoughtfully and purposely, the hashtag began being used on all city communication, because I truly believe in the strength of Wadena.

Our residents, businesses and city employees are strong and care about one another. We understand that we have to work together to be successful and we understand that we are stronger together. While this crisis has shaken us, we are “Wadena Strong.”

It used to be said that nothing is going on in Wadena. Don’t accept that statement. We are Wadena Strong and great things are happening here.

Janette Bower is the city administrator for the city of Wadena.