A Call to Action

Mayor Dean O’Connor has a Message for the Altoona Community

To the people of Altoona:

I’ve always been proud of Altoona’s unbreakable sense of community. Good people, good neighbors, good bonds. Honestly, there’s nowhere I’d rather serve.

Over the last decade, we’ve come so far, and that’s because our community is made of good people who care about each other. We’re the kind of community where, in the winter, people shovel their neighbor’s driveway before they shovel their own. As a leader of Altoona and a neighbor, that makes me proud.

While it’s always been important, our bond as a community is critical during challenging times—particularly now, during what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging times we’ve faced. Over the last few weeks, the public health crisis – which is also an economic crisis and, for many, a personal crisis – has impacted people, businesses and communities across the nation.

As this crisis arrives at our doorstep, the people of Altoona are taking great measures to support and protect one another.

Of course we are. That’s what makes us Altoona.

Over the coming weeks, this crisis will continue to test us, and we must continue working together to overcome our personal and collective challenges—just as we’ve always done before. In these difficult times, I want to make a commitment to you, and I want to ask for your help.

First, a commitment: All of us at the City of Altoona are doing everything in our power to protect and support the families, individuals and businesses of Altoona. We’re all in. We’re thinking creatively. We’re coordinating with other communities and organizations. We’re focused on both the short-term and long-term health of Altoona.

We’re doing our very best. But we need your help.

Now, a call to action: The best way to protect ourselves, our businesses and our families is to work together as a community. I’m asking everyone to join me in the following:

  • Let’s all practice social distancing. Stay home, whenever possible. Don’t gather in large groups. Wash your hands frequently. We must all do our part to slow the spread and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.
  • Let’s do what we can to support our local businesses. I know that this crisis is having a serious impact on our local businesses. Although many businesses must close temporarily, let’s do whatever we can to support them. I’ve heard that many people are buying gift cards from local businesses, which they can use after the crisis, and getting take-out from local restaurants. These are simple, intuitive ways to support the people and businesses we care about.
  • Let’s keep in mind that we are not alone. Physically, it’s important that we stay apart. However, physical distance doesn’t mean emotional distance. Give your neighbors a call. Send some words of encouragement to members of our business community. Video-chat with your friends. Let’s continue to remind each other that, in these difficult times, we are all part of a caring, tight-knit community. A simple conversation can make a big difference.

How are you supporting your friends, family and neighbors during these difficult times? How are you working remotely, staying in contact with each other, and supporting local businesses?

Please share your stories and ideas on social media using the hashtag #PeopleofAltoona. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Stay safe and remember that you have a community of good people with you.

Dean O’Connor, Mayor of Altoona