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2020: Looking back at a pandemic year

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Big Sky Virtual Town Hall

Over the course of a week, Explore Big Sky spoke to those intimately involved in the efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic over the year. In a special one-year anniversary edition of Big Sky Town Hall, EBS Editor-in-Chief Joe O’Connor interviewed Matt Kelley, health officer for the Gallatin City-County Health Department; Taylor Middleton, president and COO of Big Sky Resort; Taylor Rose, Director of Clinical Services and Operations for the Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center at Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center; Gary Rieschel, Founding Managing Partner of Qiming Venture Partners; and Danny Bierschwale and Kevin Germain of the Big Sky Resort Area District.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Lone Mountain Land Company, First Security Bank and the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce. 

Matt Kelley, Health Officer, Gallatin City-County Health Department

“We’re really working hard to get the vaccine rolled out, including in Big Sky with our partners with Bozeman Health,” says Matt Kelley, Gallatin City-County Health Department health officer. We sat down with Kelley to talk about vaccine distribution in Gallatin County, and what lies ahead with regards to the pandemic.

Taylor Middleton, President and COO, Big Sky Resort

“It’s kind of easy to look back now with all we know now, but on that day we knew that it would be a devastating impact on our community and on the lives of so many people and that was a hard decision and a hard day,” said Middleton. EBS spoke to him about his difficult decision to close the resort a month early last year, and where operations are now. He’s surprised about how the pandemic unfolded in the U.S., but what he isn’t surprised about is the Big Sky community’s resilience in pushing through a tough year.

Taylor Rose, Director of Clinical Services and Operations for the Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center, Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center

Taylor Rose is the Director of Clinical Services and Operations for the Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center, Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center. He joined us for the one-year anniversary of Big Sky Virtual Town Hall and spoke about how the hospital has adapted in real-time during the pandemic.

“The pivoting that we’ve had to do has been out of necessity here, obviously,” said Rose. “It’s been reactionary, you know, not trying to get ahead of something. So we’ve had to change the way we’ve had to run a hospital.”

Gary Rieschel, Founding Managing Partner, Qiming Venture Partners

Gary Rieschel is the Founding Managing Partner of Qiming Venture Partners. EBS spoke with Rieschel about the economic impacts created by the pandemic, one year later.

“I’d like to say that it’s optimistic and the economy is coming back, but I think we have to keep in mind there are a lot of people, particularly women, that have basically stepped out of the workforce and are no longer looking for jobs …”

Danny Bierschwale (Executive Director) and Kevin Germain (Board Chair), Big Sky Resort Area District

Danny Bierschwale is the executive director and Kevin Germain is the board chair of Big Sky Resort Area District. They joined EBS on Big Sky Virtual Town Hall to talk about the efforts of Big Sky Relief and their surveillance testing program throughout the pandemic.

“I feel very blessed and I feel very thankful for living in this community. We have it so good here … The best example is how we responded to this pandemic. Nobody thought about themselves, everybody thought about what do we need to do to get this community through it, and people just really pitched in,” said Germain.

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