In the years to come when we reflect on the summer of 2019/2020, the images of fear and helplessness that flash before our mind's eye will diminish.
Feelings right now are still very raw and painful for many.
But I've also seen love, compassion and authentic leadership emerge from every corner of our community following those dark days of orange skies.
It's this positivity that I'm focused on in order to move beyond the hurt and pain.
When I reflect on our community spirit, I see Mick and the Social Justice Advocates with their caravans, I see Christine and Danielle at the Cobargo Relief Centre, Veronica down the road at Quaama, Mick and Jenny at Go Fence Me, Vickie and the kids at Towamba Public School, Doss in his bandanna at Wyndham, and Lisa, Trace and John at South of Eden Bushfire Recovery.
The Bega Valley has always known what many people are rediscovering in 2020 - that life works better together.
The Australia we strive for starts at our front gate, the bonds that tie us as a nation start local.
We can all be proud of the contribution made to our local and national community.
We have all had our challenges, none of this can be perfect, but the challenges are smaller and the solutions clearer when we face the future together.