You'd think that given the state of the situation – still mid-pandemic with more cases of COVID-19 exploding around us than ever and facing a Thanksgiving (and probably Hanukkah and Christmas) without family – that might be hard to find things to be thankful for in 2020.
But, that's just not so.
While there has been plenty about 2020 to make us wish it disappear and consigned to oblivion, the pandemic also brought out, as Abe Lincoln might have said, "our better angels."
In fact, so many people stepped up to respond in the face of crisis, that we're sure to leave some out. But, we'll take that risk, simply to remind everyone just how thankful we ought to be as a remarkable year draws to a close with the prospect of a new dawn approaching.
We're thankful this year for …
The owners of Tischler's and Riverside Foods, who worked tirelessly in the face of a panic-buying public to make sure fridges and cabinets remained stocked with food.
The army of residents, from Sue and Tim Pipal to Riia O'Donnell to local scouts to the owners of FocusOm Yoga in Brookfield and faculty at local high schools who made and donated thousands face shields, masks and gloves to health care workers as well as delivered meals to hospitals.
Amy Jacksic, who after the death of her own father from COVID-19, set about raising more than $16,000 to buy Riverside Food gift cards to help feed those in need due to the massive job cuts resulting from the pandemic, and Tony Williams, who responded to the civil unrest of May and June by creating United Pride and Produce and feeding hundreds of those without homes this summer.
Jerry Owens' Quarantunes initiative that raised money to help restaurant and bar staff thrown out of work during the shutdown, and Wayne McCallum's 5 p.m. dance parties on Kimbark Road and Jim Vonesh's sax walks through Riverside, not to mention driveway concerts performed by the Giampietro family in LaGrange Park and Patrick Williams and Kara Kesselring in Brookfield that brightened the seemingly endless days at home.
BEDS Plus, for changing its shelter model on the fly and creating a central shelter in Brookfield serving more than two dozen people without permanent homes.
Alice Harris and Katelyn Nichol, whose Brookfield Rocks initiative – painting rocks with cheerful designs and scattering them about the village as pleasant surprises brought a ray of sunshine to many.
The first responders, medical professionals and all of those who aided and supported the Kusper family of Brookfield after 11-year-old Maxx Kusper's horrible accident. Struck by a train March 28, Maxx returned home from the hospital May 16. Amid a spring of chaos and loss, Maxx Kusper was our miracle.
And, finally, thanks to the scores of local residents who stepped up to donate money to Growing Community Media when our fledgling nonprofit needed you most.
This little publication -- this very month, if you can believe it -- celebrated its 35th anniversary and the 23rd under our ownership in 2020. We could not have done it without you.
This editorial has been changed to update the amount of money Amy Jacksic raised for her grocery store gift card initiative.