In the Know: Formula for Rebuilding America? Thomas Edison can help.
Inspired. Motivated. Together.
Some of the words you re-energized local merchants, employees and customers shared with us as we constructed the first phase of our Rebuilding America series.
The importance of small businesses tactful embarking on a return path to operating and thriving, the very backbone of Southwest Florida.
Sure there's a lot of fear out there and a lot at stake in restarting the economic engine that keeps our homes, our neighborhoods, our lives running. The many unknowns. The many questions. The many challenges.
And that's why most folks want precautions as stores, restaurants and doctors slowly reopen their doors. Want it done safely. Want it done sensibly. Want it done successfully.
To arrive at this difficult point in our history, loved ones have sadly paid the ultimate painful price and continue to do so. They need to be honored. Their essence celebrated. You've largely desired that they not die in vain as we try to move forward in uncertain times.
The feeling from nearly all of you is we've got to be smart without spawning greater harm.
"Common sense," according to our late great winter resident Thomas Edison, is essential "to achieve anything worthwhile." Southwest Florida's first king of enterprising entrepreneurs said, "Learn with both your head and hands."
Our nation has overcome before. The 1918 flu pandemic. The Great Depression. Pearl Harbor. 9/11.
And Southwest Florida has overcome before. Mosquitoes (but it appears not love bugs). Heatwaves (thank you, Florida doctor John Gorrie for that early version of A/C).
More recently, hurricanes Charley and Irma, the Great Recession and right now, wildfires.
Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. And we did it anyway. Our toughness. Our adaptability. Our inventiveness.
Inventive. Yes. It's rooted in an Edison mantra: "There's a better way to do it. Find it."
A celebration of the American spirit, the Southwest Florida spirit, we keep growing from our experiences and gaining knowledge through our resiliency. And we're doing it anew.
You can already see it once again today as the republic rallies with the creativity of a considerable community of caring citizens and immigrants largely wanting to do what's best for each other. What's wise for each other. What's needed to make our lives better.
How a number of us are trying to get America judiciously back to work whether guiding our companies from our kitchen table or taking measures to social distance.
Wearing masks to protect our fellow man and woman is part of the deal at The Secret Ingredient boutique in Ave Maria, store manager Debra Wade told reporter Laura Layden.
"My big thing was to protect our employees and our customers," Wade said of the requirement for both her team and shoppers.
We're changing our ways in all types of different fields. Real estate. Retail. Health care. Some temporarily. Some perhaps permanently. Some things maybe we should have been doing all along.
West McCann, president of the Naples Trust Company, told writer Andrew Wigdor his firm already had been investing more resources into technological capabilities prior to the coronavirus crisis to serve and reach "the next generation" of clients.
"Lo and behold, the pandemic shows up and really gives us the opportunity to test and refine and get more skillful in our interactions with our current clients," McCann said.
Up until two months ago, patients largely ignored telehealth services. Since then, they've discovered the wonderful convenience and other pluses.
"There's no going back frankly," Kristine Fay, chief administrative officer for Lee Physician Group, told reporter Frank Gluck. "I actually think this is one of the silver linings."
Many more examples are in the dozen or so articles in this first installment of Rebuilding America and in dozens more in the days, weeks and months to come.
Very few want a world without hugs, handshakes and high-fives. As our stories show, America has found creative ways to express love, support and understanding. Has found creative ways to keep the economy going. Has found creative ways to build for our future.
It's about what's in your soul, at your core. That you care. People will see it in your eyes, your friendly wave. Your smile.
And it will pay off, not only for each other, but for the employees of Southwest Florida. The businesses of Southwest Florida.
"I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!"
You can hear it, can't you? That's our heartbeat.
'Ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride.'
Southwest Florida Strong.
Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez (email@example.com) writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.
More Rebuilding America stories
- COVID-19 has renewed the concept of home as castle in SWFL
- COVID-19 forces senior living communities to adapt to an uncertain future
- In the Know: Formula for Rebuilding America? Thomas Edison can help.
- How theaters, comedy clubs, movie houses plan to emerge from COVID-19 pandemic
- As SWFL restaurants rebuild, creating trust is top priority
- SWFL financial advisers stay connected to clients during pandemic through technology, constant communication
- Tourists will return to SWFL, but it will never be the same
- Realtors embrace new, virtual methods to market homes during coronavirus pandemic
- COVID-19 pandemic accelerates changes in retail industry
- SWFL dealers contend with severe April sales drop, COVID-19-related fallout
- Telehealth services, once rarely used by SWFL patients, has exploded in popularity amid coronavirus pandemic
- Things will be different, yes, but we can rebuild together
- Count on us as we begin rebuilding America