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Tough times require strong community

So far, this spring is shaping up to be season of senseless tragedies. From the death last weekend of a talented physician and Park City High School alumnus in a helicopter crash to a massive cyclone in Burma and the devastating earthquake in China, it seems we have been battered with bad news.

The loss of Darren Bean, a graduate of the Park City High School Class of 1989 and the son of former Treasure Mountain Middle School Principal Brian Schiller and Danielle Bean, is the latest in a heartbreaking series of untimely deaths among local high school alumni. Last month, Connie Blount, a PCHS graduate and freshman at the University of Kansas was killed by a hit and run driver. In a separate incident PCHS graduate Matthew Knoop, died as a result of a similar traffic accident while serving an LDS mission in Brazil.

The local community was also rocked last week by news of a construction accident in North Summit that took the life of a much-admired woman, Saundra Toole. Hundreds of residents were still reeling as they attended her funeral on Tuesday.

The disheartening local news has been compounded by the steady onslaught of natural disasters across the country and around the globe. Throw in a bitter election campaign and a mortgage crisis and it is hard to maintain even a shred of optimism.

But even as local residents mourn these untimely losses and watch the news in horror, their solidarity is rising.

In the days following Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Asia, Summit County residents donated truckloads of supplies and contributed thousands of dollars to the relief efforts. Also, in the midst of local tragedies, this community is known for banding together to support those in crisis.

It may be difficult under the current circumstances to adopt a brighter outlook about the future. But as always we look to our neighbors for inspiration. This week they are finding ways to reach across continents to help flood victims in Burma, support the rescue efforts in China and provide famine relief around the world.

Lately, there has been a lot of anxiety in Summit County about the economy, gas prices, the real estate market and politics. But all of that pales in comparison to the challenges facing families who have lost loved ones or those whose towns have been wiped out by natural disasters.


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