We now live in a time of unprecedented challenges. There's an ongoing pandemic that has caused crushing job loss and pain for many families. Some believe this may be what breaks us. I disagree.

There's a famous scene from the movie Apollo 13 where Ed Harris is told by his NASA team that they're facing catastrophe. His response is perfect.

When told that it's likely he'll lose the 3-man Apollo 13 crew, he says...

With all due respect, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

I believe this is what you will see in Wyoming, but let's be real for a second. The last three weeks, we've seen many oil, coal and machinery industries lay off hundreds if not thousands of workers. That's real pain and there's no easy solution when the economy does not appear it's going back to what we used to know as normal any time soon. The restaurant industry has been damaged in ways that we're only now starting to understand. Even reopening isn't a quick fix and the number of customers will be limited for the foreseeable. Why the optimism then?

I was raised in a working class family where my mom and dad both had full-time jobs and worked their tails off. Even then we were what most would consider a lower end middle class family, but we got by. I did not grow up with entitlement and don't believe in fake cheer-leading optimism. My faith is in something that is actually tangible. It's the Wyoming spirit.

There's an old saying that "fire makes steel". Before these hard times hit, I have watched Wyomingites stand up when many others wouldn't and face challenges head on. For example, Katie Caldwell-Burchett was recently nominated as a Jefferson Award for her charity work. When confronted with the cancer that took the life of her young daughter, what was her response? She started a foundation to help find a cure for the disease and help other Wyoming families. That's the Wyoming I'm talking about.

Our own Donovan Short learned of a great hunger need for Wyoming children. How did he respond? Over 20 years of tireless hours helping raise money and collect food for Wyoming food charities. He was also recognized with a Jefferson Award. That's the Wyoming I'm talking about.

Casper's Kelly Sites went to the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic by volunteering with Samaritan's Purse to assist a hard hit area of Italy. Casper College graduate Amber Espinoza went to New York City to be a part of a COVID-19 unit there. That's the Wyoming I'm talking about.

My optimism is not some pie-in-the-sky hope that things will work out. The "experts" say that this pandemic may crush us and life will never be the same. I disagree. I believe this will be Wyoming's finest hour.

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