The snow is mostly gone, but stories of complete strangers shoveling driveways, clearing trees, and checking on their neighbor keep pouring in.

It’s a testament that Douglas County residents are following the famous biblical teaching: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

For many, the last two weeks have been a nightmare. As weekend snow pulled down trees, dismantled much of the county’s electrical infrastructure, and blocked byways, tens of thousands of people were left without power, running water, or a way to get out.

The emergency dispatch line was bombarded with residents calling for assistance. One elderly woman called in with a grocery list because the snow had stymied her regular outing, which meant her cupboards were bare, and there was no chance she’d be able to venture out by herself.

But just as quickly, tales of people in their souped-up CJs touring the county pulling people out of ditches, delivering emergency supplies, or transporting those in need to heated shelters took over. Walking around town, underneath the steady hum of generators and chainsaws, neighbors were busy clearing driveways, stairways and sidewalks. A little farther away, in Elkton, residents worked tirelessly, knowing they had no power of their own, to clear impassable roads to rescue their friends, family and distant neighbors.

Which isn’t to ignore the lineworkers themselves, who are hiking frozen trails and dangling bravely from power poles in freezing temperatures all to make sure our microwaves work.

Because this is for all of you who gave everything you had to make sure Douglas County was just a little warmer: Thank you. You’re what makes this county beautiful and the reason we’re proud to call it home.

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