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'Vernal Strong': Community Comes Together Through Facebook, Socially Distanced Events



“Vernal strong” is the motto right now in one Unitah Basin community as residents work together to help each other through not only the global pandemic, but also the downturn in the oil and gas  industry which has hit the community hard. 

Efforts include a Facebook page where people can share what they are in need of and what they have to give to their neighbors, as well as socially distanced community events. 

“We needed a way to be able to come together and to be able to show that even in the hardest times, that we as a community are strong,” said Lesha Coltharp, the director of Travel and Tourism in Uintah County. 

“So we wanted to come up with a couple of fun activities that we could still do during the social distancing and the state Stay Home Stay Safe initiative from the governor. So we put together a ‘Cruisin’ Curing COVID in Dinosaur Land’ event.”

In addition to the cruising event on Friday nights, Colthrap said they have been holding a community bingo game as well. 

“We've done it for two Monday nights,” Colthrap said. “And we just stream that live with our local TV production company, V6 Media, streaming on Channel 6. We have thousands of dollars of gift cards from local businesses just trying to help them out during the hard time.”

When people get a bingo, they text it in and the gift cards are then mailed to winners. Coltharp said the hope is these events will help people feel connected while showing them fun things they can do. 

“Our first cruising was just a breath of fresh air, like everybody needed to get outside,” Coltrhap said. “And I think just for someone to say, ‘hey, it's okay for you to drive up and down Main Street, like, this is cool, we can go and do this,’ even though we've been saying that all along, ‘like getting your car and go for a drive.’ I think it was just great for people to see everyone support each other and honk and wave and yell ‘Vernal strong, and it's just a really heartwarming experience.”