DEAR EDITOR:

Monday was National Public Health Thank You Day. As individuals with training and experience in public health and medicine, we have been particularly humbled and privileged to have observed the work done by San Miguel County Public Health Director Grace Franklin. As members of this community that we cherish and love, we feel profoundly grateful to Grace and the staff of the public health department for the outstanding job they have done in helping to guide our county through this most difficult time and for helping to keep all of us safe. By now, most people reading the Daily Planet know that Grace Franklin came to Telluride shortly before the pandemic started, and that she jumped into her new position with a reverence for science, safety, community and compassion. We are among those who have seen her work with skill and grace, navigating multiple challenging situations — more than can be recounted. We applaud her devotion to the task, and her impressive ability to analyze and synthesize a wide variety of information, formulate policy and present it in the most clear and concise manner.

Along with Grace, we want to acknowledge so many others. We are also so very grateful for county commissioners Hilary Cooper, Kris Holstrom, and Lance Waring, who have served wisely and effectively as the county Board of Health. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the core public health team, including Olivia Coe, Pam Foyster, Chris Smith, Amy Eriksen, Andres Jacinto, Lindsey Mills and Trisha VanHeltebrake; the contract tracing team including Hannah Max, Anne Brown, Sheila Gorther, Karen Gauvey, Ellen Kramer, Lucher Maher, Brooke Robinson, Patty Jen Arndt and Valentina Garcia; the vaccine clinic team, including Dorothy Kammerer-Doak, Jeff Lymburner, Molly Galleto, Antonya Nelson, Kim Hoffman, Jeanne Walker, Kiersten Talbert, Betsy Farrar, Mark Gudmens, Brian Rodan, Susan Kerr, Sheila Lawson, Shannon Farley, Ayla Kanow, Rebekah Newman, Bob Rohrer, Kat Burroughs, Patrick Ledwith and Dawn Ibis; and the entire Wastewater Division staff.

We also would like to salute Dr. Sharon Grundy, our county public health physician for all her tireless efforts and guidance on behalf of the community. All of their efforts both within and outside the department of public health have resulted in San Miguel residents avoiding much of the pandemic grief so present throughout the world now.

Please join us in observing National Public Health Thank You Day by expressing gratitude to all public health workers. Even if you don't know them personally, you and your loved ones have benefited from their work.

In closing we encourage everyone in the community to support the health department’s efforts by wearing high-quality masks, getting vaccinated and boosted, and getting a COVID test whenever you have symptoms and before gathering indoors with others, especially those at high risk of severe illness. It was a whole village approach to public health with support from government, businesses, all types of organizations and all areas of the community that have helped San Miguel County so far dodge the worst of COVID, and we can continue to do so with your support.

Eileen Barrett, Greg Craig, Jeff Kocher, Joel Lee, Tom Preston and Elizabeth Regan

Telluride