Many are missing the tradition of Easter egg hunts and big family gatherings but let us not lose heart and see Easter for its true meaning: the holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his Crucifixion and the gift of eternal life to those who believe in him. May each one have a greater awareness of God’s love for you, you are not alone. Happy Easter.

I’m sure most of you are overwhelmed with hearing about COVID-19 so let’s keep things in a right perspective and remember, this too shall pass. There have always been dangerous, critical times in our nation’s history. We are strong, resilient and adaptive. We are Americans. For over 200 years, we have been the “land of the free, home of the brave." That being said, we don’t all think the same and we are all free to follow our own convictions. Let’s use a common sense approach like any health concern. Character shines in these moments.

My belief: Let’s work together to slow the spread and remember the physical distancing, 6-foot space and no groups over 10 people, as directed by the governor. If you have a mask, the suggestion is to wear it when you do need to venture out. Please be mindful of our elderly community, make phone calls to those you know to help with the loneliness. Do not take your children shopping if you can at all help it. Do not congregate at the park. The city is working with the park district to help address this so if you are concerned about large groups, please call the non-emergency number (815-235-8222) so our officers are able to speak with individuals about the importance of slowing the spread and encourage them to go home. Please continue to be social, we all need interaction and encouragement, try phone calls, video chats and social media. Find positive ways to spend your time. I have found some great messages by local pastors and encourage you to check them out. God is not limited by this virus or the stay at home order.

What would Freeport look like if we all did something to help with a need?

I love that so many are thinking of others and not just themselves. I had the honor of standing with Benchwarmers to serve lunch to all of the staff at FHN as well as our first responders on Friday. Salvation Army has been going above and beyond with food just to bless people. I know many are helping our elderly and health challenged individuals by doing their grocery shopping. It is no surprise that there is a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the city is no different. The fire department was in need of gowns in our ambulances to bring a layer of protection to our paramedics. With a phone call to FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, we now have protective gowns that our fire department can use, wash and reuse. Thank you, Mark and FHN, for helping us with a need. We are all working together, truly caring for one another where we can, and I consider it a blessing to stand alongside others in this community that exemplify great leadership with a calm, responsive and dedicated heart to the health and safety of our region.

I hate to think that there are some out there that use times like these to prey upon the vulnerable but it is a fact. I received an alert this week from ComEd for our citizens to be aware of potential scams targeting individuals and small business owners. Impostors posing as ComEd employees are taking advantage of the uncertainty brought on by this health crisis to approach individuals and steal their personal information and money. Please know that ComEd will never come to a customer’s home or business to demand a payment, ask for your account number or any personal information such as driver’s license, Social Security number or bank information. If you have concerns or have been a target, I urge you to contact ComEd at 1-800-EDISON.

I also learned of a great resource now available through the U.S. Small Business Administration for any small business with less than 500 employees including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons, private non-profit organizations and veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan can advance funds for successful applications, and this loan advance will NOT have to be repaid. To apply, visit covid19relief.sba.gov. It will take about 15 minutes to complete with financials required for 12 months. It must be completely filled out or it will not be considered.

Freeport is a great place to live, work and play. Thank you for being a part of it.

Jodi Miller is mayor of Freeport.