Serge Dedina

There is probably no one who more epitomized the spirit of service in Imperial Beach than retired Navy Captain William Zidbeck, who passed away over the weekend. Our family was lucky to enjoy the pleasure of Bill’s company and friendship. Bill was involved with the Optimist Club, worked as a teacher after his lengthy military career, raised a wonderful family, and was a faithful and frequent observer and participant in local government. Captain Zidbeck eschewed the immediacy and shallowness of social media for real conversations and friendship. He loved nothing better than gathering people from different backgrounds together around his dinner table for an evening of earnest and delightful conversation.

Imperial Beach Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm, who lived down the street from Bill said, “He came by the house about two weeks ago and we had a really good conversation hanging out in the front yard. He was always so gracious, very knowledgeable about current events and such a gentleman. He lived a very full life.” Bill and I communicated frequently and we had just agreed that we were looking forward to a post vaccination meal together in the near future. My condolences to Bill’s family and many close friends. He will be missed.

It is estimated that about one third of Americans know someone who passed away over the past year. The immediacy of the pandemic combined with the social isolation we have all experienced, only makes it that more important to support programs and activities that bring people together and forge real connections.

While I appreciate the fact that Zoom and other virtual platforms have allowed many of us to continue working and socializing when we couldn’t be together safely, there is nothing that equals the in person connections and conversation. I look forward to having the option of using virtual platforms to avoid the cost and time that meetings outside of Imperial Beach take, but look forward to when we can all get safely back together again in person.

It is clear to me that when I am out and about in Imperial Beach that people are hungry for meaningful conversation. I was at the Crystal Clean Car Wash earlier in the week and chatted with a local resident I’ve known for decades. He told me, “This pandemic has really woken me up to what is important in life. We have to use this to grow and learn so that we can be more caring. We can’t have gone through this to be the same. We have to grow from this experience.”

For most of us, this pandemic has caused us to do some deep reflecting on what is important in life. For me, the most important thing is spending time with our two sons. We figured out how to safely spend time with each other outside in our backyard. We all got routinely tested before and after our get togethers which included a meetup at San Onofre State Beach where we ate breakfast outside and I surfed with the boys. I’m looking forward to when we are all vaccinated and spending time with the people I love most in the world isn’t a source of stress in terms of trying to avoid becoming ill.

According to the CDC, so far, “..more than 107 million vaccines have been administered, reaching 21% of the total U.S. population.” Those are good numbers but we obviously have a ways to go. But I am confident that as we open up the economy and increase the pace of vaccinations, that we are going to enjoy the best and most meaningful summer ever. We’ll have earned the good times ahead.

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