Tuesday, July 23, 2024

OPINION: Kootenai County's Call to Action: Fostering local unity through preparedness

It’s more than obvious we are living in historic times. Unfortunately, historic times are usually not tranquil times. Here in our beloved Kootenai County, we have recently experienced a spate of tumultuous events, including the racial incident involving the Utah women’s basketball team, the arrest of an 18-year-old man on terrorist suspicions, a politicized defamation trial, and most recently, another racial incident concerning the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

Where we live is a microcosm for disruptive events roiling our nation. Though we are not officially at war in the Middle East or Ukraine, the U.S. is involved in both conflicts, especially as concerns funding for our allies. Meanwhile, the historic felony verdict of President Donald Trump is only provoking further tension in a nation deeply divided. 

An important takeaway from all these divisive happenings is that we must reject the urge to balkanize. Not since the Civil War has our country been so polarized. Even our sports and movies have devolved into divisive affairs. 

This is no way to live. And it’s definitely no way to ensure the survival of our nation, much less our way of life. As we know, America represents an idea of self-determination and liberty based on shared values enshrined in our Constitution. This notion is so powerful, it’s inspired nations throughout the world to follow in our footsteps.  

Unfortunately, many Americans these days are left wondering: Will this nation endure? These are the concerns of the organization we lead: Kootenai Stability & Resilience Group. Several months ago, the Coeur d'Alene Press graciously allowed us to announce our formation with an editorial. 

Since then, we are happy to report our numbers have swelled.  

At present, we are a team of more than 140 volunteers. What is KSRG? We are simply a group of non-partisan volunteers who love North Idaho and want to be available to support our families, friends and neighbors should a crisis occur. If a large enough event happens, our first responders may become overwhelmed, and we want to be ready if needed. This spirit of caring for others is always what has made North Idaho so very special. 

To this end, we created a number of committees to assist with every aspect of life during and after a crisis. These include the following: Administrative/Personnel, Communications, Security, Engineering/Energy, Food/Water/Sustainability, Fundraising/Finance, Health/Medical, Logistics, Political Outreach and PR/Media. 

Importantly, we do not wish to displace our brave first responders and police officers who do such a wonderful job serving our community. Instead, we wish to bolster their efforts, so Kootenai doesn’t just survive — but thrives — in the face of so much uncertainty and division.  

Since our last editorial, we held our first Volunteer Day at Axe Force One. More than 100 people turned out. Time and again, we heard a similar refrain: “I am so glad your organization exists. This is just what we need right now.” 

Here’s a bit more about us. We are a part of Restore Liberty (restore-liberty.org), a nonprofit 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(3) organization committed to restoring the original intent of the United States. There is no cost to join us, but we will gladly take donations to offset the needs of our residents. For instance, we are now compiling essential medicines to support our most vulnerable citizens, especially if a disaster like the one Maui recently suffered, happens here. 

Already, we have hosted get-togethers to provide valuable information, such as what to do if the electrical grid goes down, and how to operate decentralized communication networks. We will soon put on a class covering basic medical training, how to stock up on food/water for a crisis, and how to organize neighborhoods for deeper resiliency. Stay tuned for details.  

In this time of national disunity, we wish to be a calming presence of collaboration and good old fashioned American pragmatism. If you or someone you know would like to get involved, please visit kootenaicrg.org. You can sign up to volunteer via our Contact Form.  

Let’s unite now for the good of our nation and each other. 

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Brig Gen (ret) Blaine D. Holt is a co-founder of Restore Liberty, former Deputy Representative to NATO and technology entrepreneur.  

Duke Johnson, M.D., Kootenai County Coroner, is a co-founder of Heart of Hope in Hayden, a membership family medical practice. He’s the former medical director of the world's largest supplement manufacturer and a former Level 1 and Level 2 trauma doctor in Southern California.  

Michael Ashley is an author, Forbes columnist, and professional speaker.