Like so many people, I thought “2020 is going to be my year.” Everything was shaping up, for me at least, to be better than 2019 had been. I was starting the new decade off with a job I absolutely love and in January 2020 I received a cochlear implant, making hearing for my unilaterally deaf self a reality once more. That was pretty cool.

I was riding pretty high as this year began.

On March 6, 2020, I went to Montreal to see a show at the Bell Centre. Just days later, the border closed. This COVID thing was creeping in, even though I don’t think any of us really knew the extent to which it would change our lives.

As journalists, we pride ourselves on being resilient. As human beings, we are just a fragile as the next — we worry, we stress, we understand that this year absolutely sucked.

Like many of you, we lost some coworkers we really loved, a result of the economy succumbing to this awful virus.

But, I’ve been so proud of my small-but-mighty crew of reporters, who have worked tirelessly to share the stories of the great things you all have done to cope with a really hard time. Our communities are strong, and our people are really incredible. There’s good, even in a world that sometimes feels like it’s filled with bad.

From BYOC (bring your own chair) for South Burlington students, pot-banging Shelburners, small-town takeout in Hinesburg, embracing hygge in Charlotte, tourist-heavy businesses getting creative in Stowe and people coming together all across Lamoille County to help neighbors, make sure people are OK and pull together testing for the virus at Copley Hospital, we’ve seen it all. You’ve been right there with us.

Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting local journalism — and local journalists — and we hope to bring you good news in 2021 and beyond.

Jessie Forand is the managing editor of the five weekly Vermont Community Newspaper Group publications.

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