By now, there is no doubt among any of you that our world has changed. The reality is none of us signed up for this. Not a person within our community awoke less than a month ago with the mindset that we would be living in what will become one of the biggest chapters in world history. What we have on our side is that the chapter is still being written and has yet to be completed.
As these days unfold, our personal dissonance will continue to be tested. We are all uncomfortable, weary, uncertain and scared. We are all navigating this crisis to the best of our abilities and we will be called upon as Hilltoppers to rise above our discomforts and continue to serve our community and each other.
Now is our time to support each other, now is our time to rise!
Our community has been blessed with more than citizens, we are a family. Each of us add to the mosaic and uniqueness of the 10 square miles we call home. We exhibit the same love and dedication for Somersworth as we do for our own families. We treat our neighbors as brethren, by exhibiting compassion, respect and love. It is this fabric of our being, which gives each of us the reassurance that tomorrow will come, that we will get through this and Somersworth will continue to honor its “Proud Past” while moving forward with its “Bright Future”.
As all of you know, I am an educator by profession. I chose this path in the hope of instilling the democratic values of our society into the foundation of the next generation. As a former social studies teacher, I was always examining the lessons of the past to help navigate my decisions through the present and future.
A recent article from the New York Times on the 1918 Influenza outbreak and the “lessons learned” drew parallels to the COVID19 pandemic and the 1918 Influenza outbreak. To quote the author, “That brings us back to the most important lesson of 1918, one that all working groups on the planning agreed upon: TELL THE TRUTH. The few places where leadership told the truth had a different experience. In San Francisco, the mayor and business, labor and medical leaders jointly signed a full page ad that read in huge all – caps type, “Wear a Mask and Save Your Life”. “They didn’t know that mask offered protection, but they did know they trusted the public. The community feared but came together. When schools closed, teachers volunteered as ambulance drivers, telephone operators, food delivers.”
The lessons in history are clear. We will overcome this by being truthful to each other and embracing the reality at hand. Now is the time I am asking each member of our community to bring to life in every action, the values that Somersworth is known for. As united citizens, we are ready to make the hard decisions and the tough personal sacrifices in the name of ensuring our community will continue to stand and thrive when this is over. We are also ready to support each other by leading one another through this crisis with support, compassion, respect and love.
You’re City Hall team; the Mayor, City Manager, City Council, School Board, Department Heads and City Employees are filled with courage and prepared to make unpopular decisions to keep us safe if needed to before the state and federal government. Rest assure that Somersworth will continue to lead, and that if we need to make the tough decisions, WE WILL MAKE THEM! We will make them why? Not for ego, not for power grabs but because we know how to protect our neighbors, our loved ones, our team and our 10 square mile home.
During the next several days, weeks and yes months, I ask each Hilltopper to lean on each other, lean on me and lean on the team. We have the strength, we have the insight, and we have the knowledge, compassion, and soul to overcome this virus. I ask that you not join me individually but we all join and commit to each other and our community to rise up and overcome the obstacles before us as united citizens. Our local history will write a chapter about us and it will be written stating how Somersworth, as united caring Hilltoppers rose to the moment of challenge and delivered.
I count been my blessings each day as your Mayor. I feel blessed that I have been placed on this earth at this moment of history in the community I was born and raised. WE WILL PREVAIL over this virus, so now let each of us find the inner strength in ourselves, each other and reaffirm our commitment to protect the home and all the people we love.
We have this Somersworth!
God bless each and every one of us. Continue to be healthy and safe.
For more information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the following:
AGAIN, NH Governor Sununu, the NH Department of Health& Human Services, and NH Homeland Security and Emergency Management have also mobilized 211NH to handle all COVID-19 related calls from NH residents.
For Somersworth we are “On the Move!” and our “Future is Now!”
We are a community! We are achieving progress and greatness! WE ARE SOMERSWORTH!
Mayor Dana S. Hilliard