Between the lines – 2020: Should we be thankful?

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

By Gwen Kautz
General Manager

How many of us go about our daily lives, living in a vacuum of sorts? By vacuum, I’m talking about living/working/being in the same routine. Didn’t 2020 disrupt that? What’s there to be thankful for? So many things we thought we had to do yet couldn’t when the country began shutting down little by little. Weddings were postponed, schools were canceled, sports shut down, funerals were limited, dance recitals canceled, and many small businesses were forced to close – some temporarily, some not. How should one give thanks for that?

Was (or is) COVID-19 a serious threat? I guess that depends on who you ask, perhaps when you ask, and maybe even why you ask.
COVID-19 had its negatives, but it also had positives. So where are the thankful notations in the thread of 2020? This is where “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sets up my “thanksgiving” lists.

I’m thankful….

  1. For the ability to slow down without guilt. Obligations, personal and professional, got canceled – out of my control so I could just roll with the canceled meetings, canceled travel plans, canceled sports, and canceled church (which was the hardest for me).
  2. Working in an industry that saw minor impacts/inconveniences. The show must go on, just like your electricity – so Dawson PPD put a moratorium on disconnects to help people navigate their lost income. Our bill from our provider was still due and payable.
  3. For the flexibility given to me by Dawson PPD’s Board of Directors to manage Covid-19 responses. They trusted my judgment to protect the district by protecting the employees. Like many other businesses, we closed our doors to customers, vendors, and contractors. We separated the company into 2 teams so that we could minimize contamination. We alternated work schedules, we adjusted hours, and developed social distancing guidelines that were designed to protect us. The positive impacts of this allowed us to play catch up on every imaginable activity or duty.
  4. That I got to dust off my sewing machine. I jumped into mask-making, not because I was asked but because I saw a need that matched my passion. I love to sew, and this was a great way to use up fabric that hasn’t seen the light of day in years. I lost count of how many I made, but I know they ended up in the hands of many people, some I knew, some I didn’t.
  5. For all of our law enforcement officers, everywhere. How very slighted they’ve been over the bad decisions a few have made. They deserve only our respect. I couldn’t walk 10 feet in their shoes, much less a mile.
  6. For realizing the importance of overlooked professions like trucking, food service, manufacturing, and the contributions of small businesses to our communities. We have failed to see all the moving parts…until now. It should not have taken a pandemic to open our eyes.
  7. For the dedication of our healthcare professionals, EMS professionals, and educators. They did amazing things with fewer resources and increased rules. Kudos to all of you who fall in this category!

This Thanksgiving, we can expect that our plans will not be the same as in previous years. When you bow your head over your Thanksgiving meal, consider my list – and add to it. Give thanks for what we have, for what we’ve accomplished despite the obstacles, and for any help you received or gave during this time. If only our lessons of 2020 can be long lasting, we will have come out ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving!


November 2020

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