Auburn Mayor Ron Anders gave his second-annual State of the City Address on Monday at the Gogue Performing Arts Center, highlighting the hard work and efforts of the city and community while it goes through a year marred by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anders said 2020 has "been anything but normal," while he recounted the painful loss of many in the Auburn community, including Lee County Commissioner Johnny Lawrence, Medal of Honor winner Command Sgt. Major Bennie Adkins and legendary Auburn football coach Pat Dye. He also lamented the loss of the 65 lives that Covid-19 has taken from the Lee County community.
He also acknowledged the social unrest that spread around the country over racial injustice and the efforts the city took with his One Auburn initiative, which focused on creating conversations in the community about diversity and equality.
Anders praised the hard work of many in the community during the pandemic, including city staff who kept services running and provided vital information to the public, organizations like United Way and the East Alabama Food Bank, which stepped up and helped support those in desperate need, the general public who helped out where they could, and, especially, the frontline workers at East Alabama Medical Center who helped care for loved ones stricken with Covid-19.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the leadership shown by the East Alabama Medical Center," said Anders. "I commend our health-care workers on the front lines of this health crisis. Our nurses, our doctors, the EMTs, every day you're putting your health second to those you treat, and as a community we are forever grateful and indebted to you."
Anders also praised the economic development efforts of the city, including the expansion of SiO2 Medical Products, which will be playing a key role in providing packaging for Covid-19 vaccines.
Anders also handed out the Lamplighter Awards to six community members, who will be featured in next week's Villager.