It’s been a really tough year. For most of it, we’ve been separated by distance, by masks, by windows and walls. Despite its challenges, there were silver linings.

Separated by distance, and by masks, by windows and walls – it’s been a difficult, lonely, relentless year. 

But – there have still been moments of joy, of understanding, of appreciation and love.

When we couldn’t be together, we found ways to stay connected. 

Celebrations once in person moved online. Lily and James Woodward streamed their wedding ceremony over YouTube, with most friends and family taking part from afar.

“We love each other, we want to get married, we didn’t want to push it back – because we’ve waited on this day for so long!” said Lily, back in May 2020.

Drive-through ceremonies took the place of traditional graduations, birthday parties turned into parades. While these events were different – they were emotional all the same. 

At nursing homes and assisted living facilities, smiles and waves sparked joy. To keep people safe, many visits here were restricted for much of the year. Guilford County Deputy Chief Vic Maynard told WFMY News 2 back in April – he could only see his elderly parents through the window at their nursing home. 

“It’s extremely different,” he said, “My family is at peace with it. It’s all for the best.”

Pandemic shutdowns were met with unique takeout options and creative ways to socially distance. Locals made a point to support restaurants and small business. Cities like Greensboro kicked off creative concepts to help, like  “Open Streets” – closing down streets, allowing customers more space to eat outdoors. 

Speaking of creativity – educators across the Triad rose to the occasion, switching in March from in-person to remote and virtual learning seemingly overnight.

The essential, frontline workers and healthcare heroes, who never stopped, were recognized for their hustle and praised for their dedication. 

Several in the community made masks, or distributed PPE to protect them – and everyone else. 

Many people recovered from this deadly virus, like Pastor Jeff Harmon, one of the first to leave Cone Health’s ICU after 11 days on a ventilator.

“Nothing is as big of a deal, and nothing’s as bad anymore,” he told WFMY News 2 in April. 

In December, the FDA gave the greenlight to the vaccine – a critical step in the right direction. Health leaders applauded researchers for their tireless work, building on decades of vaccine development progress.

As we bid farewell to an unforgettable year, with challenges and heartbreak abound, we saw glimmers of hope and of humanity.

A blessing to remember in 2021. 

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