We are here to help

We are here to inform readers accurately.

We are here to serve our community compassionately.

We are here to help build with purpose and passion.

In my mind, these are the three pillars of our identity as a community paper.

We practice them every day, as our binding mission, since 1886, has been to connect our community in a meaningful way.

For 134 years, we have lived and worked next door to many of our readers and advertisers, so in times of elation and in times of grief, we are side by side with them.

However, in times of crisis, we try to remind ourselves why we chose to become community journalists. Every reporter or editor might have a different explanation, but when all is said and done, we believe it boils down to this: We care for the people whose stories we are privileged to tell and for the places we share as a community.

The relationships we have built over the years with trusted sources become especially precious in times of emergencies, like the one we are living through now.

The statewide and national public health emergency is truly an uncharted territory for many of us in front-line occupations like doctors and nurses, first responders, firefighters, mental health professionals, teachers, city workers, business owners, preachers, and journalists.

In Vinton, our community has been tested before, most recently with the biggest tests coming from nature, during the flood of 2008 and the derecho wind storm of 2011.

There were other, harsher tests, in the history of the town as well.

But on balance, regardless of the challenge, every time, because of the dedicated work of every single one of the community’s members — and also the selfless work of plenty of volunteers--the community has emerged better and stronger and more resilient.

As this crisis unfolds, one thing we know to be true--we will get through this together, and we will help each other in our hour of need.

Things change by the minute, and a lot of closures of social gathering places and small businesses have now shuttered.

But while we grieve — each in our own way — the loss of face-to-face interaction with classmates, colleagues, congregations, and friends and family — let’s remember that is temporary.

Let’s also remember that the more we abide by orders, guidelines and instructions on how to stay safe and behave responsibly to curb the spread of the virus, the more we are doing our part to bring about its containment and eradication.

In the chaotic nature of things right now, even-keeled business owners are looking for ways to evolve and survive.

What this means for each industry would truly be understood in the future.

For now, in Vinton, restaurant owners have opted to do deliveries and serve carry-outs, after the governor shut down business as usual.

For grocery stores and some retailers, it means adjusting hours to accommodate the elderly and individuals with medical conditions, so they can shop in peace and quiet.

And so we can show deference to those whose wisdom we count on when we encounter emergencies.

For churches and schools, the message will be delivered virtually for now.

What it means for the newspaper--in the short term and beyond — we are sure will spur a lot of innovation.

Our local businesses, including this newspaper, will need a lot of loving.

And we will need it for the long haul, as this is not a sprint, but rather, a marathon of pride-filled endurance.

We need everyone to cheer us to the finish line.

Because no one can do it alone.

So here is how we think we can help.

Inform with accuracy: This is our most sacred of principles, and implementing it in times of crisis, when everything is in flux, is a challenge. We recognize this and update our online version as developments happen.

As avalanches of information descend upon us all and up-to-the-minute updates from federal, state and local governments engulf us, our job as community journalists is to put it in order, provide context and distill the essence.

Unlike social media, we work hard to report factually relevant information rather than rumors and conspiracy theories.

We vet our info and rely on local experts to provide context and offer relevant advice.

Talk to us. Send us your news and share your videos and pictures with us. We are committed to keeping our readers and communities informed to the best of our abilities. Email CJ Eilers at news@vintonnewspapers.com or call 319-472-2311.

Get updated information at www.vintonnewspapers.com where we have added a tab specifically for relaying Coronavirus updates.