By Shae Laplace

The town of Telluride, Colorado is the undisputed king of the playgrounds for the global outdoor enthusiast.

Known for the magic of its beautiful and unique box canyon, bluegrass music, wild weather, and incredible locals with a legendary history of scrappiness, this small mountain town is exploding with generosity in this time of crisis. Those who visit this gem of the San Juans often become enamored, and are drawn back, again, and again. There are a lucky few who actually get to stay, to live in this town year round, about 2,500, give or take a few any given season.

The community may be small, but its collective heart is big.

We are currently living in a time of vast and profound uncertainty. A time when we must spend our time alone, yet community is more important than ever. The people of Telluride are proving their devotion to community in incredible ways. It is so easy in a time of crisis to panic and focus on protecting you, and yours. However, for some, generosity has become a priority.

This tiny town has made international news due to a local couple, who own a company called United Biomedical. They are using their own resources to pay for the entire county to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, free of charge. Each individual will be tested not once, but twice! The county went under a shelter in place order prior to the rest of the state to protect its residents, and the very important data it will collect. The data from these tests could not only help Telluride find a way forward from this crisis, but it will also provide vital information in our understanding of this virus.

This massive undertaking is a huge investment in the greater good. Not only United Biomedical, but each and every individual taking part in the testing is contributing. And they’re not alone. Telluride Distilling Company is doing their part. As a distillery they have everything they need to produce hand sanitizer!So, they have been donating time and resources to make hand sanitizer, and they’re giving it out, for FREE!

The local grocer, Clark’s Market, is doing their part as well. They are limiting the quantity you can purchase on certain items. And more importantly they have made priority hours, for the elderly and those with limited mobility. These individuals are the only people allowed to enter the store for its first two hours everyday. Ensuring that they are able to get what they need first. Businesses aren’t alone in their choice to give.

A number of individuals have made large private donations to local restaurants and other businesses to help pay out-of-work employees. For a town that depends on tourism for a great deal of its income, this has been a particularly frightening time. Members of this community have recognized that, and used personal funds to aid the business and staff they love. It is truly a time to be taking care of others. Not just ourselves. Telluride seems to be getting that right without much convincing.
Between the toilet paper hoarding, and those ignoring stay at home guidelines, there have been many scary, and selfish reflections of human behavior this crisis. The news always shows us the negatives. The loss of human lives, the devastation of economies, and those choosing self over the greater good. It is disheartening and painful to watch. We become abundantly aware of the negatives.

If we can instead focus on the overwhelming kindness and generosity happening, we may find more answers than those for a pandemic.