For more than one year now, we have been talking about the superheroes who are our front-line workers.

We paid tribute to their sacrifice and showed our gratitude for their service. They faced the challenge of working where they were needed through a global pandemic. And then, just as we began to see hope for the weeks ahead, a tragic act of violence cuts down two of those heroes while they were doing their jobs.

A pall hangs over northeastern Iowa as we reckon with the deaths of two front-line workers — a nurse and a corrections officer — at the hands of prison inmates at Anamosa State Penitentiary.

The Iowa Department of Corrections reported that the attack occurred at about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday when two inmates made an attempt to escape through the prison’s infirmary. Lorena Schulte, 50, a registered nurse, and correctional officer Robert McFarland, 46, were attacked with hammers and killed when they tried to stop the prisoners.

While prison violence is not uncommon, it’s been at least 45 years since an Iowa prison employee has been killed by an inmate. This tragedy reminds us that those who serve in correctional facilities put their lives on the line to protect citizens every day.

Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the heroes who perished in the line of duty at the Anamosa prison.

A solemn anniversary tolled this week as local health care providers reflected on one full year of facing COVID-19.

In that time, the staff at UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital has nursed back to health 310 COVID-19 patients, while 52 have died.

MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center workers cared for and discharged 697 patients with COVID-19, while 73 such patients have died.

Two-hundred people in Dubuque County and more than 500 in the tri-state area have died from COVID-19. In addition, every aspect of our community has felt the impacts of this insidious virus.

A bright spot — we have helped each other through it. Think about the thousands who have suffered and survived. Consider that 80 nonprofit organizations received grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s disaster recovery fund, activated just over a year ago. In that time, the foundation has awarded close to $1.6 million of funds raised to help people impacted by the pandemic. No doubt that helped ease the collective burden.

As we remember all that we have lost this year, let us be proud of the work done in our communities to support and lift one another up.

Striking one of the most pleasant notes of the past seven days — a deep and resonant note at that — was news that the amazing Opus 97 is ready to be showcased at University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center.

If the idea of organ music conjures thoughts of the Wurlitzer you’ve heard at church, think bigger. Much, much bigger.

UD is now home to a custom-built Dobson Pipe Organ Builders opus organ, the largest of its kind in the state. The massive, 21-ton organ is made up of more than 3,000 pipes, some measuring more than 30 feet long.

UD professor of music and university organist Chuck Barland will debut the instrument for the public with an organ recital on Tuesday, April 6, as part of the university’s Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series. The livestream of the performance for the general public will initiate the first of many opportunities for the community to take in the size, power and sounds the instrument is capable of producing in John and Alice Butler Hall.

It’s fitting that the concert hall bears the name of the local philanthropists; it was the Butlers’ generosity and $2.7 million gift that made the organ a reality.

It’s exciting to see this unique musical specimen, the likes of which tend to be homed in British cathedrals, right here in Dubuque. A standing ovation to John and Alice Butler and the University of Dubuque for adding yet another attraction to the amazing tri-state area.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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