DELTA — It would be tough to go anywhere in Delta and not see pride. You can certainly feel the hometown love from residents and all of it just might start at Delta High School, home of the Rabbits.
"We live, we breathe that. We support one another," said Delta High School principal Teresa Thompson. "Our theme this year is 'We are family,' and we live that."
From pictures of students in the lunchroom, to the school fight song displayed in several places, to sports and events the whole community goes to, Thompson says “once a Rabbit, always a Rabbit.”
"It showcases the concept of we are family and everybody belongs to something,” she said. "It's very important to us. We had our junior prom here Saturday night and the whole town comes. Just anything going on at Delta High School becomes a community event."
It's that sense of community many people miss when they leave for college or a job elsewhere — and yet, many come back.
"They want to come home because it's a good place to be and to raise kids," Thompson said.
There's just one problem. "We get kids who go and get a college education and then there's nothing to come back to," Thompson said.
Like many rural areas, that's the big issue: a lack of good, high paying jobs.
"I wouldn't go so far to say that we're thriving, but I wouldn't say we're just surviving, either," said Millard County economic development director Scott Barney.
It's his job to try and bring businesses into town, and since Delta is where he grew up, Barney feels an extra sense of responsibility to succeed.
"I feel like it's more passionate. You care. You want your hometown and county to be successful and survive and thrive," he said.
What may be most important to this area is the Intermountain Power Plant project. Not only does it provide electricity to Los Angeles and California, but it also means high paying jobs and some amenities for this area.
"They have hundreds of resumes on file, so that speaks to the desire to want to be here," Barney said.
From summertime rodeos to ATV and hiking trails there is a lot to do in Delta. Many visitors go rock-hounding in the desert, or stop in the Topaz museum and historic site to learn about Japanese-Americans kept here at an internment camp during World War II. And every summer, a one of its kind off-road vehicle obstacle course brings in thousands during a rock-crawling event.
"It's one economic boom for Delta on that weekend," said Millard County events promoter Kevin Morris.
Which brings up Delta's other problem. Often, people who come to visit don't stay overnight because there aren't many places to sleep and eat.
"That is a drawback to Millard County right now is the situation with hotels and restaurants," Morris said.
Jane Smith though, is trying to help. She’s the owner of the Red Rabbit Grill, a new restaurant in Delta that opened this week. Smith and her husband owned a restaurant in town before, but sold it and moved away. However, they missed being involved in Delta.
"This area really, really needed it," Smith said. “They are all about the school and all about the kids and they are really a close-knit group of people."
Which brings it all back to that sense of community kids in Delta learn early on.
"We want them to feel like they belong here," Thompson said.
Because no matter how difficult things might get at times, they're in it together — and it's tough holding back a herd of Rabbits.
"Once a Rabbit, always a Rabbit, for sure," Smith said.
Contributing: Xoel Cardenas
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