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Positive Leadership

Bellevue Leaders share words of encouragement in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

On February 29, 2020, Washington State became the United States epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within hours of the escalating emergency at a local nursing home, school closures were announced, toilet paper shortages reported, and our daily dance with uncertainty began. 

We still don’t know how long it will take, or if, our daily habits and routines will return to the way they were. In the earliest days of the response we could only wonder and speculate about how life would change and how we would respond to what is likely to be the crisis of our lifetime. Yet, now that we have been home for awhile, we have learned something important about you, about me, about us.  

We are amazing on-the-job learners.  We are creative, adaptable, efficient, compassionate, ridiculous, petulant, impatient, long-suffering, hilarious, intuitive, lazy, and at the same time incredibly productive, beings.  We are good neighbors, bad singers, new bakers and old arguments.  We howl at the moon and coo at new babies.  We are teachers and students, givers and takers, and even cotton mask makers.  We cry at commercials, and then yell at the news, like it’s our job.

It is our job.

We buy groceries for neighbors, and snap at our parents. We mourn for the lost and pine for celebrations and memories unrealized. We study and learn, wash up, glove up, love up. And when we venture outside, we long for inside, we step lightly and act cautious, like its our job.

We are doing our job.

We stuff bears in windows and light the skies blue, we give thanks to the strangers doing jobs we can’t do. We buy flowers from farmers and fight with our kids, and then we zoom into meetings right from our beds. We sing praises for teachers and take pictures of food.  Sometimes we TikTok, depends on our mood.

We have one job, we’re working from home, with a paycheck or not. Each day we clock in and check out, then we clock out and check in. Reverse that the next day, we’ll do it again.

Because it’s our job.

We are kindness and madness, generosity and greed. We soar to new heights and then fall to our knees. We are days and nights upside down, outside smile, inside frown. 

We are the ghosts, the strong, grateful, resilient, ever friendly ghost workers in an empty hometown.  

Name: Lynne Robinson

Title: Mayor of Bellevue

"As we navigate these uncharted waters together, and cope with the overwhelming challenges from the novel coronavirus outbreak, I want to provide some positive observations from Bellevue: We are witnessing the strength of the Eastside. Non-profits and businesses are working together like never before to attend to the needs of all our residents.There is a sense of community and collaboration. Supply drives for our first responders, our hospitals and our non-profits have engaged residents and businesses together for the benefit of the common good. I know how hard this is for the many who are ill, who have families to care for, whose businesses have been compromised or who have lost a loved one. But in the end, we will be a stronger, more cohesive and more resilient community. Please be sure to check the COB website daily for updated information and resources. And feel free to email me at if you are unable to find the help that you need. Stay in and stay safe."

Name: Kemper Freeman

Title: Chairman and CEO; Kemper Development Company, The Bellevue Collection

We are all experiencing these uncertain and difficult times together. As a 3rd-generation resident of the Eastside and your neighbor, I want to express my personal thanks and gratitude to this remarkable community.

To the first responders, medical professionals and neighbors performing essential work and services, thank you. Many of you have forgone personal safety and precious time with family in order to serve your neighbors and community. 

My heartfelt recognition to critical businesses and employees serving the needs of our most vulnerable. I am humbled by your efforts. 

Bellevue is uniquely positioned to be the leading example of how to overcome the challenges before us. Some of the most innovative and growth-minded businesses are right here in our backyard, making this one of the most promising and resilient business climates in the country. 

At The Bellevue Collection, we are working tirelessly to ensure a healthy environment for our guests’ return to shopping, dining and enjoying time with family and friends. I look forward to the day we will soon come back together, celebrate the well-being of this community, and warmly welcome you back to The Collection. 

Name: Joe Fain

Title: President, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce

"For possibly the first time in history the entire world is living a shared experience - but that experience is very different for each of us.  Fear, anger, ambivalence, restlessness; there is no right or wrong way to feel at a time like this, but there are many right ways to act. That’s what our community has done through countless acts from feeding hospital staff and first responders, donating to nonprofits, delivering food to school kids, supporting local businesses, and by looking after one another. We don’t yet know what life will look like on the other side of this or how long it will take to get there. But if we continue to display the level of service and compassion that we’ve shown since this began the Eastside and the world we wake up to will be pretty great place to live."

Name: Arthur Emery

Title: Bellevue School Foundation, Board President

"From the shores of Lake Washington to the shores of Lake Sammamish, our community's commitment to its members is bar none, particularly in the support of our students. As the President of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, I have been humbled by the incredibly important role we have been asked to fill during this crisis. When our schools closed, we immediately diverted $50,000 of unused program funds to feed our most vulnerable students and support our city's frontline healthcare workers. The outpouring of support from our donors has been immediate, robust, and deeply needed. It is a testament to the values that hold our community together. Whether we are patronizing our local bars and restaurants or donating to our local organizations, our community is throwing its full resources behind each and every one of us. There is nothing more inspiring than the collective action of a driven, successful, and committed group of people. I could not be prouder to be our President this year or prouder to be a member of Bellevue's generous and supportive community. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your generosity. And thank you for your compassion for our most in-need families during this time."