The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. — The Oxford English Dictionary
Leadville locals are used to being described as tough. Most residents know the Leadville Race Series saying, “you’re tougher than you think you are,” while others have read articles on Cloud City that utilize “tough” as the town’s primary descriptor.
When I googled “Leadville tough” on Monday afternoon, dozens of articles written by national and state news outlets appeared. As I skimmed through a handful of news features, I learned that most things in Leadville are in fact “tough.” The landscape, the miners, the altitude, the ultra endurance races, the weather — they all fit under the same adjective.
I then googled “Leadville resilient.” Websites for city government, Build a Generation and Full Circle popped up, in addition to Herald Democrat articles on ballot issue 4A and a Wikipedia page on the Leadville miners’ strike.
The Google searches made me wonder: do we, as Leadvillians, identify our community as resilient while outsiders describe us as tough? Does it even matter?
To the Oxford English Dictionary, “resilience” and “toughness” are synonymous. To me, they are different.
Resilience connotes a sense of compassionate collaboration; toughness a sense of gritty individualism.
Lake County has shown resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic — compassion and collaboration are everywhere. The community-wide effort to support local businesses is particularly emblematic of this resilience.
On Friday, Lake County will launch “Share the Love,” an online community auction created to support local businesses and relief efforts. Lovers of Leadville from across the world will be able to browse and bid on local offerings; 100% of the proceeds will go to participating merchants.
Then there’s “Keeping on Beat at 10,000 Feet,” a collaborative campaign that encourages locals to shop small during the pandemic. Daily themes like “Workout Wednesday,” “Takeout Takeover Fridays” and “Sunday Funday” cater to Leadville’s diverse array of businesses. The campaign’s COVID-19 business directory on www.leadvilleherald.com provides closures, hour changes, food delivery information and more.
Board members and mentors for the Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation and Central Mountain Small Business Development Center are donating time to help entrepreneurs navigate financial resources while businesses like Leadville Outdoors are donating a percent of sales to COVID-19 relief efforts despite storefront closures.
The ingenuity of local businesses is also inspiring. Melanzana is manufacturing medical-grade face masks for regional hospitals, El Mexicano is once again dishing up carne asada and barbacoa for truck-side pickup and Treeline Kitchen is mixing batched cocktails delivered to the front door. Resilience, indeed.