Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel Featured In Pandemic Leadership Book

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel is among officials statewide featured in a book detailing local leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The book, titled Our Darkest Hours: County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic, is designed to dive into the thoughts, decisions, and lessons learned by state leaders as they worked to guide their constituents through the depths of the global pandemic, a situation that no one had been in before.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic completely changed the way we look at our daily lives. We had too many family members and friends who tragically lost their lives and too many livelihoods were disrupted as businesses closed or faced restrictions in order to contain the spread of the virus,” stated Wendel. “When NYSAC first approached us about its project to chronical what county executives across the state faced with COVID-19, it was not its intention to write a book. However, as our responses came in, the project turned into something much bigger.”

The first part of the book is made up of stories and explanations submitted by county executives from across New York. The second part explored the state and federal actions taken as the pandemic grew, including the effects on the economy and changes in power dynamics.

“This book is a commemoration of the struggle and the hardship and what the county leaders went through during the height of the pandemic. They were the ones on the ground working 15-hour days, seven days a week for 150 days, coordinating efforts to secure PPE, enforce mask and social distancing mandates while also encouraging residents to check on their neighbors and support struggling local businesses,” commented NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “These are stories that needed to be documented for posterity. They must not be forgotten.”

The book can be purchased from Archway Publishing and Amazon for $19.99, or in ebook form for $4.99.

All proceeds from the Our Darkest Hours: County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic will be donated to Feeding New York State, which assists the 10 regional food banks that have been feeding the New Yorkers that were impacted most by the pandemic.


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