QUINCY — Former Quincy Mayor Chuck Scholz is just like others across West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.
Much of Scholz's daily routine includes monitoring the latest news tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. He reads the paper, and he watches television.
Scholz, however, views the situation from a different perspective.
Scholz was mayor of Quincy during the staggering flood in the summer of 1993, the event that most natural disasters across the region will always be measured against. The flood crashed much of the region's economy and uprooted day-to-day living for many of those on both sides of the Mississippi River.
Scholz said there are both similarities and stark differences in these two life-changing events.
"During the 1993 flood, help came in from all across the nation," said Scholz, who noted Quincy and the surrounding area responded to the disaster by standing "shoulder to shoulder, helping one another with sandbagging and food preparation."
That was 27 years ago.
This time, there's a major difference in how both the region and nation are responding.
"Our natural urge right now is to want to help, and for the most part the best way we can help is by doing nothing," Scholz said. "We have to remember we are in this for the long haul, and we still have no idea how long that will be. This is a whole different kind of battle, and we're all in it together."
Both disasters can be aptly depicted as a devastating, but in most cases that's where the similarities end.
The common denominator, however, is frustration.
"(COVID-19) involves the whole country, and we can't help them, and they can't help us," Scholz said.
Scholz says that level of frustration is the hardest singular item to deal with, but he senses a growing degree of "unity and purpose" across West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.
Just like in 1993.
"I think we're beginning to see that," he said. "People in this region are tough, and always want to come to one another's aid — but this situation is so different. And, yes, it is frustrating because we basically just have to sit and wait it out.
"Right now, we all have to give up things for the common good."
Scholz praised the work and leadership of local and state officials, plus the media for "helping us stay connected" in such a trying period.
Scholz said he is catching up on his reading, working out on a new treadmill and watching documentaries on Netflix.
"We're going to emerge from all of this smarter and happier," he predicts.