Guest Column: Gratitude

Ben Wick, Mayor of the City of Spokane Valley

We live in a truly unique time. We are experiencing dramatic changes to our normal routines that come with slowing the spread of a pandemic, trying to minimize the impact on our local economy and community, and support each other through a tragic event where a person was killed. Yet in all of that struggle there is still some things that are familiar and should be thankful for, our sense of community and commitment to each other.

Over the last few months we have seen some amazing things. We have seen people come together to support each other. As mayor I have seen churches come together to creatively find ways to connect within their congregations by establishing drive-in theater style services or stream services online. Our local School Districts and teachers embrace distance learning and prepare and deliver food to care for and keep their students and community going. Service clubs such as Kiwanis, Rotary, and Lions Club calling members to make sure they are ok since they are unable to meet in person. And families supporting our local businesses by ordering up food for take-out (#orderUpSpokaneValley) and doing curbside pickup or delivery to get needed items from local store’s when they can to help them keep their doors open.

As chair of the Spokane Regional Health District, in a matter of weeks I have seen more than half of the 200+ employees at the district volunteer and step up to new leadership roles, often times stopping mid-stream the projects they were doing to change gears to help with the COVID response and help our community through the pandemic. Elected officials from all around the community who typically haven’t worked together before have come together as a united front for a common cause. Our national Guard members stepping up to support our local food bank operations and health screening facility in order to allow people who might not have insurance get access to medical assistance they need.

As a neighbor and family member I see numerous neighbors practicing social distancing yet still checking in on each other to make sure were all ok and minimize trips to the store by sharing items we had purchased to get each other through.

I have written birthday messages for people who are unable to celebrate with their families but just needed a little encouragement to get through.

This month’s character trait is gratitude, gratitude or the expression of thankfulness and appreciation for others is important yet often times gets overlooked. Far too many times we get focused on the activities and actions that aren’t so positive. However, there are many people who are doing amazing things and many more that will do amazing things if we share a little gratitude. Gratitude doesn’t have to be large or expensive gifts for others but is most impactful as a few kind words or a simple card recognizing someone for something they did which you appreciate.

Think about the last time you got positive feedback and how it made you feel. Imagine if we could make everyone feel that way. When was the last time you recognized someone for something they did? Its never too late.

To all of our medical professionals and members of the Spokane Regional Health District, to everyone who works for the city helping our community continue to move forward, to all of our School Districts and Chamber of Commerce connecting community members to needed resources, to all of our elected officials coming together to work for the greater good, and most importantly to all of our community members for pulling together to help each other out; You are all doing an amazing job, thank you.


Ben Wick, City of Spokane Valley Mayor and is in his second term on the Spokane Valley City Council. In addition to his role on at the city he is currently serving as the Chair of the Spokane Regional Health District and Spokane Regional Transportation Council. He is a fourth generation Spokane Valley native,  happily married with 4 young children at home. He and his wife own the Greater Spokane Valley Current and Liberty Lake Splash newsmagazines and he is an IT Manager for Spokane Industries.