It has been a long week for a lot of people in Van Wert County.

But from all accounts, it has been a safe week as well.

The snow, record low temperatures, and freezing wind chill readings that swept through the area beginning last weekend provided an opportunity - an opportunity for many of our local systems to either work well or to fail disastrously, and in some cases to deadly consequences.

The Times Bulletin believes our local officials and volunteers performed an outstanding service to the community during this time.

Although more than 20 deaths have been blamed nationwide on the weather event, the Polar Vortex did not touch the Van Wert area in that way. In fact, we have not even heard of any severe accidents nearby.

And there were plenty of chances for that to happen. The power in the southwest corner of the county was down for several hours on Monday evening. Power was disrupted in Van Wert after a truck and a power pole had a disagreement in front of Central Insurance. A salt truck tipped over on St. Rt. 118 while attempting to make the roads safe for travelers.

Perhaps we were lucky and, to be honest, when it comes to natural disasters we are happy to take whatever good fortune we can come by.

But we also believe our local officials and volunteers and their preparedness had a lot to do with that luck. There is an old boxing adage that states, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.” The Van Wert area was hit this week and the people who help to keep us safe stayed to their planning.

This was not a single person or agency success. It belongs to the township trustees who found a way to start diesel plows in -48 degree wind chills. It belongs to the Sheriff and police departments and their ability to help people get to safety when they ran into trouble after venturing out. It belongs to state and city workers who manned plows until the wee hours of the morning. It belongs to the EMA office and Rick McCoy’s warnings about how dangerous the weather could turn. It belongs to private individuals like the ambulance services and EMTs who were still available to help in the event of accidents. It belongs to our fire departments who still made runs in weather where all most people wanted to do was stay inside where it was warm. It belongs to power company repair people who were working to restore electricity before people were hurt in the cold.

And it belongs to the residents of Van Wert County. With a rare few exceptions, when the warnings about the weather arrived, people listened and stayed inside. When Sheriff Tom Riggenbach found it necessary to place the county under a Snow Emergency, people stayed off the roads.

We hope Van Wert County never needs to go through weather disasters in the future but we understand that is a foolish hope. So we are truly grateful for those individuals and agencies who are taking the time in a hot and sticky August to plan for the next blizzard. We are grateful for thoughts on what to do during floods, tornadoes, and fires.

We encourage everyone to tell those people who are responsible for our safety during the next event just how grateful we all are by thanking them now and not just when the waters are rising or the winds are howling.

From us here at the Times Bulletin, thank you.