A year into a pandemic, the university and Boone community moved forward in exploring what life could look like six feet apart from one another. App State offered the first on-campus vaccination clinics in March, AppalCart transported patients to and from vaccine appointments, and the Hunger Health Coalition delivered supplies to those in need after the pandemic intensified food insecurity. The administration continued to “build the plane as we fly it,” according to Margaret McCoy, executive director of university events, as graduating students returned to the Holmes Convocation Center for socially distanced, masked and sanitized commencement ceremonies.
Tragedy forged stronger bonds in the community, as the lives of loved ones, family members and public servants were remembered. Chancellor Sheri Everts described her predecessor, John E. Thomas, who passed away at 90 in September, as the embodiment of a Mountaineer. Community member Lindsey Taylor described her daughter as the “number one joy” of her husband Johnny Bunton, an 18-year university employee who died due to COVID-19 complications. Law enforcement officers from across the state traveled to Boone to memorialize K-9 Deputy Logan Fox and Sgt. Chris Ward, who were killed in a standoff in April.
The changes that occurred throughout 2021 impacted us all in unique ways. Moving forward into the new year, these changes should not just be left behind. Learning from them, embracing them, will help prepare us as we continue to adapt to the world around us. In order to move forward, we must also take time to look back and embrace the change.
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