The past year was a difficult one on many levels — mostly because of the coronavirus pandemic — but as 2022 beckons, we will grasp an opportunity to build on the already obvious successes of the region.

For some, success may be hard to discern, especially with the cloud of COVID-19 lingering, but the region has much to be proud of.

The clearest indicator of triumph is the low jobless rate across all Eastern Oregon. Everyone, it seems, who can work is. That bodes will for our region’s economy — now and into the future.

New Year’s resolutions are part of the popular culture arena we all live in but there is nothing wrong with setting specific goals for the next 12 months. One goal should be to focus on what is working and vow to fix what isn’t.

One of our regional strengths is a determination to overcome challenges. The bedrock of our culture is a pioneer resolve to scratch out success wherever it can be found. We also can rely on a rich legacy passed on from Native American culture, an almost sacred birthright, that existed long before the first wagon train emerged from the Blue Mountains.

In short, we are a diverse group and that means we carry a deep reservoir of strength, a tradition of surmounting problems. Our inheritance was bestowed by our Native American and pioneer ancestors, and it is more than a historical relic to admire. The residue of our determination can be found in the small towns that dot Eastern Oregon.

We must translate that determination and dedication to success in the next year. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going to go away but there are lessons to be learned from the past year that can be used in 2022. One of the biggest lessons is we, as a regional community, can overcome just about any challenge if we address it quickly and with courage.

While it is difficult to predict the future, we can chart a course that rests on unity and a determination to adapt and overcome obstacles.

The new year brings opportunity for all of us. We should not fail to clutch those opportunities and to resolve to face our challenges with courage and grace.

Happy New Year from the East Oregonian.

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