Along with surrounding communities in the Lake Region, in the state of North Dakota, and communities around the globe, Devils Lake, ND has been affected by COVID-19. The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic has lead all of us, individuals, families, businesses, communities and states as a whole, into an imaginary-like world we now know as ‘the new normal’.

Mandated quarantine, telework, homeschooling, wearing masks and gloves in public and keeping a 6’ social distance at all times has many of us confined within the safety of our own homes. However, this ‘new normal’ lifestyle hasn’t stopped many, from the jobs that are essential to our communities.

Frontline workers; medical staff, daycare providers, gas station, grocery store, and retail store employees, Police force and Firemen, and more, take on COVID-19 head on to serve and protect our communities. While facing challenges most of us can’t fathom, enduring burnout and exhaustion from working tirelessly to protect and serve, these workers are also putting their own health and safety at risk- for us.

As frontline workers step up to the combat zone of this war with COVID-19, many of us wonder if extending a ‘thank you’ really puts enough emphasis on our appreciation for what these people do on a daily basis for our communities and for us as individuals.

Paula Vistad, Executive Director of the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce states: “How we could ever fully thank those who put their own health at risk for that of our own, I don’t know, but what I do know is that saying thank you makes a difference, that showing support, gratitude and appreciation towards our essential and frontline workers does not go unnoticed.”

“We have had some donations to our Drive-In movies and recently to two local businesses as acts of kindness and support to our community. These acts take unprecedented measures in the fight against COVID-19 - they help to keep business doors open which helps to keep people employed. We, as the Chamber, can only hope that these actions inspire others to do the same; to help support businesses and to help keep the community of Devils Lake thriving.” Vistad adds.

Two local businesses have been positively impacted by the purchase of gift cards from Moore Engineering, Inc. Moore recently purchased over $500 worth of gift cards between two Devils Lake Chamber members; ND Coffee Connection and Old Main Street Café, through their Community Care Initiative. Rich Slagle, Community and Client Development Manager of Moore Engineering, Inc. stated: “Our Community Care Initiative is a program we’ve been working on over the past several weeks, developed to help support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the initiative, Moore Engineering purchases gift cards from locally owned businesses so they can be given out and turned around putting that money back into the community. “

Gift cards purchased by Moore Engineering will be handed out by the Chamber of Commerce to managers of local businesses where employees are working on the frontlines. Managers will then distribute the gift cards to their employees as a token of appreciation and thanks for standing at the forefront of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The impact made since starting this new initiative has been great. “Since we have started the Community Care Initiative, we’ve reached over a dozen communities across the state of North Dakota and with that, have supported approximately 37 establishments by purchasing their gift cards. Moore Engineering is a city engineering firm. One of our main focuses is on the municipal business. It’s almost like this Community Care Initiative is in our DNA; this is where we derive most of our lively hood from” says Slagle.

“It is with profound gratitude that I want to thank Rich Slagle of Moore Engineering for providing the gifts from our local Chamber businesses; Old Main Street Café and the ND Coffee Connection. These gifts are just one way that businesses can show the support for the essential worker.” states Vistad in regards to the positive affects the Community Care Initiative has had on Devils Lake.  “We are blessed and so glad to be a small part of this by helping out North Dakota communities. It’s our hope that this encourages other to think, ‘if they can do this, so can we!’ says Slagle. With its success and positive impact to communities alike, Slagle sees no reason why Moore Engineering shouldn’t continue moving forward with the Community Care Initiative in the future; post COVID-19.

In addition to the purchase of gift cards, placing orders online from local stores through their websites or Facebook pages, ordering take-out or delivery from local restaurants, many people have also been diligently sewing face masks to donate to local hospitals, clinics and businesses. Measures and acts of support like these are vital to keeping our community the place we passionately work for it to be; home.

This ongoing show of support reminds us that when we act together, we can make a change; that we can make a difference - it shows us that we will get through this, together.

*To those who have contributed or donated already, thank you. To those who would like to contribute and need ideas or assistance to make it happen, please feel free to reach out to the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce.